Water is Life

Where would we be without water? Nowhere! Water is Life. Without water, plants, animals and humans can’t survive. That is easy enough to say, but is it really that simple. Unfortunately, no. Water is life, but more correctly, Good water is life. What makes water good? Some plants and animals aren’t as discerning, but for humans, good water means it is clean and drinkable.

Blue Planet

While 70% of the earth is covered by water, only 3% of the earth’s water is fresh… and only 0.5% of the earth’s water is available fresh water. This is due to the fresh water being locked up in glaciers, polar ice caps, and the atmosphere. Some of this fresh water is in the soil or lies too far under the earth’s surface to be extracted at an affordable cost. And then of course, much of this water is highly polluted.

What can you do?

Those aren’t particularly good odds! And I’m starting to feel thirsty! So what is to be done? We can’t just give in and say that is too bad. Thank goodness I live in a country with highly productive utility companies that provide clean, drinkable water to my faucet at all hours of the day, every day of the year. For many of us in those circumstances, the question “what can I do” can seem extremely overwhelming. Thankfully there have been a few individuals that took that question seriously. For example, one of those individuals is Doc Hendley.

Wine to Water

In 2009, Doc was named as a top ten CNN Hero for that year for the incredible work he has done to remedy the lack of clean water in many parts of the world. Doc started the non-profit company, Wine to Water, that has grown from one man’s mission into a successful global movement for clean water.

Humanitarian Service Activity

Wine to Water is one of the service projects our guests participate with on our Humanitarian Vacation in the Dominican Republic. The Wine to Water ceramic water filter factory, produces innovative clean water solutions for local Dominicans. Even though the DR is a popular tourist destination, much of population still lives in poverty. As a result, without clean water, “many families on the island suffer from water-related illnesses that take the lives of 1,300 Dominicans and 5,700 Haitians each year, many of them children.” 

Clay pots, Clean Water

Mark and I and our family first visited the Wine to Water ceramic factory in 2016 when we participated in a service cruise with Fathom Cruise Lines. I was fascinated to learn that a locally made, natural product could remove 99.99% of organic contaminates. This ceramic filter, which looks like a large terra-cotta bell, can provide clean water for a family of five for 5 years. Wine to Water, in conjunction with WaSH education and training, is changing the water situation in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The factory also produces ceramic tiles for roofing. But when it was discovered that they clay, mixed with sawdust, nano silver, and water could produce something more, the possibilities grew. This clay and sawdust mixture “results in a porous pot with a layer of activated charcoal to latch on to micro-organisms” adding the silver scrambles the bacterial DNA, and prohibits its reproduction.”

How do you help?

So what do volunteers do at Wine to Water? Our guest volunteers help shovel the clay, sawdust and silver. They help combine these items by pushing a screen back and forth. Another station is the clay forming. Using hands and a large machine, guests create each pot, one by one and leave them to dry. Still, another set of volunteers will help load and unload the ovens after the pots are baked. Furthermore, volunteers help package the pots, labeling them for distribution. Finally the volunteers also get to help with the delivery of the pots.

Meeting Families

Finally, we drive in buses and vans to neighborhoods to visit the families that lack clean water. The Wine to Water team, which consists of local Dominicans, instructs the families, how to care for and clean their new filter. As a family we participated in all these steps. It was fun! Our kids, ages 8 – 10 loved it. We loved seeing how a simple solution could have such far reaching effects.

Water is Life

Healthy children are children that go to school. Children that go to school can get jobs. Getting a job improves the life of the individual and his or her future family. Also, when families are healthy, they don’t have to worry about paying for expensive medicine or hospital stays. It is awesome to be a part of the water cycle in the Dominican Republic. Because water is life!

Wine to Water factory
finished pot
clay pot
workers boxing up finished water filters

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