There is a saying about teaching that is a proven and unique function of our program. The saying goes something like, “You can give a man fish and he will have a meal for the evening. You can teach a man how to fish and he will have food for a life time. Our teaching philosophy is quite similar. We hold our training classes on an as needed basis throughout the year and as the interest arises from other organizations.
The students will arrive on a Sunday evening, where we do a meet and greet, have a nice supper, and do simple personal introductions so that the students are comfortable with us and each other, as well as answer any questions they may have about our facilities. The school is for five days, Monday through Friday, from early morning through the afternoon. There is much to be learned in that short period of time, so the days are stretched thin and jam packed full of information.
We have class time in the mornings held by Chris and Leslie, the directors here at Clean Water for Haiti. I have a small part to play in that I assemble the text books and prepare the learning posters and handouts. The students will learn everything there is to know about bio-sand water filters. We explain the history, the science and biology, the manufacturing, logistics, and marketing and educational aspects. This way, when they start their own program they will not have to re-invent the wheel and will have the information readily available.
The afternoon sessions are with our resident filter pro, Thony. Thony is extremely gifted when it comes to teaching and he can instill desire in our students like no other. This is the chance for the students to build their own filter from start to finish, from washing the sand, to preparing the molds for cement, mixing and pouring the cement, painting, and installation, all under the tender care and guidance of Thony.
We do various exercises through the week to help them plan. The students are supplied with everything they need, including a manual, list of tools, equipment, and supplies necessary to begin production.
It is a joy to watch the students grow, not only in their knowledge but also in their hopes and visions for development of their own filter project. When class first starts on Monday morning, there are expressions of reservations and uncertainty. They are eager to learn and excited about the prospects. As each day passes, their visions become more focused. As they build a filter from start to finish, from intangible to tangible their vision becomes more than an image in their mind, it becomes a reality.
The students leave here with a diploma in their hand, a wealth of useful information and knowledge, and a set of skills that they will be able to hone and utilize in the production of their own bio-sand water infiltration filters. More than that, they leave here with a glimpse of hope for what can be. A vision that we, here at Clean Water for Haiti, also believe in, the provision of a resource for clean, palatable water for all of Haiti; water that is free of disease,
bacteria bacteria are microbes. and microbes that destroy the health of their children.
The fish story holds true for us as well. We can provide clean water to the poorest of the poor, enough for the day or even a week, or we can provide the ways and means to have clean water for a life time.