The first of 15 Water for Kids teams recently returned from Cambodia. Team members were shocked to meet students who’d never used scissors before—much less safe water—in their schools.
by Tammy Suitor, Samaritan’s Purse Canada international volunteer coordinator
March, 2015—I love to lead Samaritan’s Purse Teams and be part of the bigger picture of what God is doing around the world. A recent trip to Cambodia—the first of 15 we’re sending there this year to help build Samaritan Filters for schools—was no exception. We had a fantastic trip.
When we first arrived at the school where we were going to be volunteering, we were greeted by all 400 students. To be welcomed by such a large, excited group applauding our arrival was unexpected and overwhelming for many of our team members! The next week was spent building the Samaritan Filter and interacting with the kids by day, and sleeping in the school in our mosquito tents by night.
The Samaritan Filter uses the same technology as the BioSand Water Filter. Contaminated water (pumped from two ponds in this school’s case) flows through a ‘bio-layer,’ then subsequent layers of sand and gravel to become clean water that’s safe for drinking. However unlike the BioSand Water Filter, which provides enough safe water for one household’s needs, the Samaritan Filter is large enough to produce clean water for an entire school.
It’s surprising to learn that something which is second-nature to us can be brand new to someone overseas. Washing hands, accessing safe and clean bathrooms, drinking safe water, using scissors… using scissors? Yes!
It happened when our team launched a Bible-based curriculum at a school. Each lesson included a game, Bible story, snack and craft. We discovered the kids weren’t able to do basic cut-out crafts because they didn’t know how to use scissors.
Scissors are a small thing, but safe water and sanitation can be a matter of health and sickness, even life and death.
On a lighter note, the kids also didn’t know the game of Duck, Duck, Goose—commonplace on school grounds here in Canada. Our team taught it to them and they absolutely loved it! (see video above)
Please pray for the children of Cambodia. Also pray for Samaritan’s Purse, that our Water for Kids program would indeed bring safe water and more to schools across the country.