Visit a village school

Bringing Clean Water to Cedro Isla

Visit a village school

Through the generosity of IE guests Kathleen Egan and Eleanor Morpheu, this summer every family and school room in the small village of Cedro Isla, Peru was given a Sawyer point-of-use water filtration system. This was also the first time this village has participated in the Adopt-a-School Program, which IE has long-supported through our involvement with CONAPAC. International Expeditions’ Amazon Cruise Destination Manager Tracey Hinds was on-hand when the materials were delivered to the village.

“The entire village met us upon arrival at the riverbank. Children of all ages had prepared signs and posters and were all lined up to welcome us. If they had had a red carpet, I am sure they would have rolled it out but none the less, we all felt it was there.

“The older boys had prepared some traditional songs and dance and we dressed in hand made costumes. They even had a smaller child dressed as a jaguar mascot! Small kids took our hands and walked with us to the community center where the whole village joined us for the activities. So many, dressed in their Sunday best, performed songs, poems and dances. We took so many pictures and shared with the kids who love to see themselves. That always gets a smile out of the shy ones.

“Representatives of CONAPAC, along with the IE guests, began the task of handing out toys, art supplies and books to each child. Teachers were presented with classroom materials as well as some sports equipment. Local leaders also stepped forward and were given various materials to share with the village. While Peru provides free education, often times the schools and families don't have needed supplies - like notebooks, pencils, rulers and construction paper - that children need to complete lessons.

“Once the school supplies were distributed, (CONAPAC representative) Cynthia began the presentation and instruction of the Sawyer Water Treatment Systems. She explained the procedure and began with a muddy bucket of water taken directly from the river. It was a solid brown color looking a bit like chocolate milk. Soon after she completed the first step of mixing the water and mineral block, you could already begin to see how the water was separating the liquid and solids. While we were waiting the required one hour for the settlement, we turned our attention to some more entertainment by the children and plenty of picture taking.

"While enjoying the entertainment, I noticed a small toddler just learning to pull up and stand. She had on a pretty pink dress and little white shoes. Knowing what was coming next, I thought about the water she may be currently drinking on a regular basis. If it dripped on her dress, it would most likely leave a stain. I imagined what the health benefits might be for her as she grows as well.

“As time elapsed and we focused again on the previously dirty bucket of water, you could hear all commenting on how clear it already looked. As Cynthia turned on the filter however, the water emerged into the lower bucket and all were amazed at the crystal clear water that only an hour ago had been so dark and full of debris. The kids kept getting closer and closer so they could have a good look and as soon as we got the cups ready, the line was already forming, wanting to get a taste of the clean water. Kids and adults alike tasted a sample as well as some IE guests. The kids were more than happy to have a large cup and pass it on to the next but would immediately get in line for seconds. You could see some of the mothers smiling as they discussed the transformation. I can only imagine how excited I would be to know that my child would be getting this wonderfully clean water and to know I would have it in my home for cooking and drinking at my leisure.

“If clean water stopped coming out of my faucet this afternoon, my day would most likely come to a halt right then and there in order to get it fixed. It is funny how something we take for granted every day, something that never crosses our mind, makes such a difference when you don’t have it.  It was an amazing sight to see the transformation of the dark, dirty water turn into something inviting and refreshing just sitting there waiting to quench your thirst. I was both impressed and excited for the community but now, also thirsty.”

How can your next trip leave your destination a little better off than before you arrived? Check out IE's 10 Simple Green Travel Tips!