Rotarians get update on Honduras project
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG Banner Staff Writer
Apr 20, 2014 | 883 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DR. BILL JOHNSON speaks to Bradley Sunrise Rotarians about a project to ensure people in Honduras have access to clean water while fellow speaker Dr. Sally Poston stands by.  Banner photo, CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
DR. BILL JOHNSON speaks to Bradley Sunrise Rotarians about a project to ensure people in Honduras have access to clean water while fellow speaker Dr. Sally Poston stands by. Banner photo, CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
People in Honduras have continued to receive help from the Cleveland residents as part of an ongoing partnership to provide clean water that involves members of the Bradley Sunrise Rotary Club.

Dr. Bill Johnson and Dr. Sally Poston, both members of the local club, shared the project’s progress during Thursday’s wekly meeting.

Five local Rotarians, three being from the Bradley Sunrise club, recently embarked on a trip with a group of others to see how their clean water mission in Honduras had been going.

In the early part of 2013, the club partnered with Broad Street United Methodist Church and a Nashville-based organization called The Living Water Project to provide clean water to people in El Negrito, Honduras.

It is a project that remains important today because of what not having clean water means for a person’s health, the Rotarians explained.

“Five thousand people under the age of five die every day from water-related diseases,” Poston said.

Citing a magazine article about how some economists had evaluated the cost effectiveness of different humanitarian efforts, she said providing clean water could have the biggest positive impact on a community for a nominal price.

The local Rotary club has partially funded a water filtration system in El Negrito that uses a sand filter to get rid of impurities.

Water can be taken to one central location to be filtered. The system is overseen by a water committee that makes decisions about how everything is done. Half of the filtered water can be sold to help offset the cost of maintaining the system, but half must be given away for free.

Johnson said people being able to get clean water has helped with efforts to improve people’s overall health.

While on the trip, the Rotarians also worked with volunteers doing medical and dental missions work. While there were more than 100 patients in need of dental care, one of the biggest problems that people had was with parasites.

Some people had developed worms and would arrive at the doctor with bags of their own excrement to show doctors what problems they were having.

Johnson said many of the patients had problems after drinking unclean water and living in unsanitary conditions.

He said one challenge has been educating people about the need to get clean water. People had gotten used to drinking dirty water.

The Rotarians said the organizations working to help that Honduran community had also begun working to make sure that children have all the resources — like uniforms — they need to go to school through a child sponsorship program.

Once children are in school, more efforts are being made to teach children about the importance of seeking out clean water even if it is not immediately available to them.

“The government of Honduras does not provide free water, but it does provide free schools,” Poston said.

The water filtration system, which costs about $250 a month to maintain, has been a location for people to buy water or receive it for free if they meet certain criteria. It has also provided free filtered water to places like the school and a nearby nutrition center for malnourished children.

All the efforts combined have given some hope to the people in Honduras, and some of the children are beginning to see the importance of helping those around them.

Johnson said he met a girl who said she wanted to grow up to be a minister or a social service worker so she could help people in her community.

“It changes the world one person at a time,” he said.

Club President Andy Anderson stressed to the club members in attendance that being able to help projects like this one is why the club tries to raise money through its annual fundraising gala.

The next gala is scheduled for June 14 and will feature guest speaker Steve Spurrier, the head coach of the University of South Carolina’s football team.

During the meeting, the Bradley Sunrise Rotarians also showed their support for the Run Now Relay.

Twenty-six runners had been on a journey from Cleveland to Boston to show support for victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, and members of both Cleveland-based Rotary clubs were among them.

Club members filmed a video to share their well-wishes, and the club decided to make a donation to the runners’ cause.

Ron Sellers, a founding member of the Bradley Sunrise club, also honored a non-member for her work with him at a local State Farm insurance office.

He had been named a Paul Harris Fellow for donating money to the club’s efforts, and he chose to make Reba Garrison an honorary fellow instead of keeping the title to himself.