When Life Comes In A Concrete Box

One question we often get asked is how long the filters will last. We don’t have a definite answer because the filters have only been in use in Haiti for less than 20 years, but we know from our own experience, and because of the filter down in the round house, that it’s not too much to expect at least 10 years out of one. With the right maintenance and proper care though, a filter might last for much longer than that and be fully functioning.

I want to show you something.

I’m sure your first thought is, “It’s a load of filters.”

When you look closer you’ll probably notice the condition of the filters. They look pretty beat up, don’t they? You might be questioning the quality of what we’re installing by looking at this picture.

These filters have a story though.

One morning last year our team headed out first thing in the morning on a delivery day. They hit the road around 6 am as usual and got to work when they arrived at their destination. Halfway through the day they realized they had forgotten 18 diffusion plates. A full load of filters for us is 34 and that was what was on the truck that day.

They had forgotten half of the diffusion plates needed to do installations.

This never happens. It hadn’t happened before that day, and it hasn’t happened since. Our staff are always good at making sure everything is on the truck.

Because of the missing diffusion plates they could only install half the filters that day. They decided that rather than take the filters back to the base they would unload them and come back another day with the missing diffusion plates and finish the installations. They piled back on the truck and headed back home.

That day was January 12. The delivery area? Port au Prince.

30 minutes after they left town the very area that they had been working in was in ruins.

As our crew headed out of the city that day they felt the ground shake under the truck, but they didn’t know what had happened. It wasn’t until the next day when they went into the city with Chris to help pull people out of buildings that they realized the magnitude of what they had felt.

Because they had forgotten 18 diffusion plates they weren’t in the city when the earthquake hit.

When we all started to understand what they had been spared from it was very humbling and sobering and we could only thank God for his protection. If they had still been in the city we wouldn’t have known exactly where they were, and because phones were down we wouldn’t have been able to contact them.

Fast forward a year and a half…

Yesterday our crew took a load of filters into a neighborhood in Port au Prince – one of the first times we’ve done a normal delivery within the city since the earthquake.

Guess what they found.

Yep. That load of filters.

So, those filters have a story to tell. A story of endurance. Not only did they survive the earthquake, they managed to survive the last year and a half.

They look beaten up today, but to us they signify life. Not only the lives of our employees that were spared that day, but also the lives that they will save through the gift of clean water. They’ll be checked over, and get a coat of paint, then they’ll be sent off to a family to provide life change.


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