Laurel church organization works to bring clean water to communities in need

Updated: Mar. 19, 2020 at 8:33 PM CDT
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LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - March 22 is World Water Day, which is an observance around the world emphasizing the importance of clean water.

One organization in Laurel continues doing its part to help areas that do not have clean drinking water. We introduced you to the organization last week, now we are taking an in-depth look into how the mission works.

“We have done missions in Cuba since 1995 and are very aware of the lack of clean water for the people of Cuba,” Jerry Goode said.

In 2009, Goode and a team of trained Living Waters of the World volunteers through the First Trinity Presbyterian Church of Laurel installed its first water system in Cuba.

“2.1 billion people in the world, it’s estimated, that have no access to clean water," Goode said. "I mean water that is contaminated with parasites, bacteria, viruses and pesticides. What we are trying to do is one little piece of that, and that’s to provide clean water to small communities that have a source of water, but it’s bacteriological contaminated.”

As volunteers and church members look back through the memories where their mission made a difference, we take a look at the system the group takes along with them to install.

The Living Waters for the World standard ozone water treatment system is installed once the group reaches the community, which takes about four days.

“The water to be treated enters here," Goode said. "This water can be coming from a stream or a river.”

Water travels through numerous filters which purify and transition the water.

“Then it gets to the real work horse of the system," Goode said. "This is a 0.5 micron filter that removes all pathogens, including bacteria and anything that can make you sick except cyst viruses.”

Once the water moves through the entire system, Goode said it goes through a methodical process that works to create new life for those suffering.

“Then it leaves this pipe here and goes to a tank and is stored until it is used,” Goode said.

“This is this child’s fist sip of clean water in her life. You can tell how happy her father is,” church member Mary Ella Johnson said, pointing at a picture from one of the group’s trips.

In April, a team of about seven people will return to make another installation and check on prior installations they have made for the people of Cuba. This will be their eighth installment. Goode said it’s a time of dedication, hard work and most importantly, education for those receiving the clean water.

“We go in country and train the people there with what we’ve learned about operating one of these systems, maintaining it and providing health and hygiene education to the local community,” Goode said.

It’s a hands-on type of installment. Leaders from that community actually assemble the system with the group’s guidance so they learn the specifics of how it operates.

“They are able to learn the details about every part," Goode said. "What can go wrong, how to fix it and how to recognize problems. But, the biggest thing is you can clean this water up, but if you don’t use it properly, it’s of no worth.”

Following the installation, leaders in that small community are then educated on health and hygiene and how to properly use the clean water.

“To me, the most important part," Goode said. "How to keep it clean and handle it so it’s effective and not contaminated.”

The actual system costs about $3,500.

“And probably another $1,500 to $2,000 in country for preparation of things we can’t carry on a plane," Goode said. "We raise that money throughout the year. In addition to that we continue to raise money and keep money on hand so that we can provide maintenance parts, ongoing, so that these systems are still running 10 years from now like our first one is still in operation and producing water.”

“This is someone coming on a bicycle to get water,” Johnson added.

There are ways for you to get involved in this project. To learn more about what is needed in this mission you can call 601-428-8491.

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