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Rockford, Saugatuck students accomplished needed mission in Dominican Republic

GRAND RAPIDS, MI– Students from Rockford and Saugatuck high schools traveled a long way this summer to lend a hand, spending a week in the Dominican Republic and installing seven water filters that will benefit a village of Haitian workers.

Kelly Gardner, a teacher at Rockford High School who also participated in the trip, explained that the “batey” or village where they worked had 140 people and only two water faucets.

“The water that comes out of the faucets was not clean. It had a lot of bacteria, viruses and a variety of parasites, and that fed the entire village,” said Gardner.

The water filters, which were provided by West Michigan’s Triple Quest, improve the quality of the water because they contain a biological filter which eliminates viruses, bacteria and parasites.

Related: Wolverine Worldwide teams up with Triple Quest to get water filters to village in Dominican Republic

The team, which included six Rockford High School students, four from Saugatuck High School and one from Central Michigan University, installed 17 water filters and left 83 more behind to be installed.

“There is team in La Romana that works year-around and they will be in charge of installing the other filters and making sure people are using them properly,” said Gardner.

She explained her group arrived in La Romana because the Good Samaritan Hospital sponsors the clean water program in the area.

“Plus, I am a Spanish teacher and I was excited that me and my students would get to practice some of it,” she said.

However, once they arrived in La Romana, Gardner realized that effective communication was going to present some difficulty.

“The people in La Romana are mostly Haitian, so they speak Haitian creole, which is very different from Spanish,” said Gardner.

Another difficulty the team had was sharing a bathroom that had two showers and two toilets.

“It was odd at the beginning, but afterward we became family,” she said.

One of the other activities they did during their trip was to distribute 200 pairs of shoes donated by Chaco, a division of Wolverine Worldwide.

Gardner said in order to have enough money to travel,  the team spent a year fundraising for the trip and spoke in different elementary schools  about clean water.

“We each paid our own way to go,” she said.

If you want more information about the functioning of water filters visit Triplequest.

Source: Michigan Live

Category: DR News |

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Last updated October 20, 2016 at 7:03 PM
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