Travel With Agua Pura to Chiapas in Mexico

by Tom Carter on March 30th, 2014
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Mayan ruins at Palenque

Mayan ruins at Palenque

Have you ever thought about volunteering on a service trip to a foreign country?  Are you in reasonably good health and can take a couple of weeks off to see a fascinating part of the world and help alleviate serious health issues?  This may be your opportunity!


Volunteers with Agua Pura Para El Pueblo are traveling to Chiapas in southern Mexico from May 9 through May 21, 2014 to work with local Mexican non profits promoting clean drinking water and sanitation.  We will be visiting culturally rich areas such as the beautiful town of San Cristobal de Las Casas and the fabulous Mayan ruins at Palenque.  There will be time for visiting and sight seeing as well as participating in Agua Pura’s projects.



San Cristobal de las Casas

San Cristobal de las Casas

Agua Pura will travel to rural communities in the region, learning about their needs for clean drinking water and sanitation and offering training and support to their efforts. We work closely with local communities and families, so volunteers will be able to experience and interact with people on a basis not possible to regular tourists. There are useful jobs for all volunteers, and speaking Spanish, while helpful and rewarding, is not necessary. Flexibility, commitment and an interest in meeting people are the main requirements.









Visiting local communities

Visiting local communities

Agua Pura does not charge “project fees”, but volunteers are expected to pay their own expenses.  Estimated costs for the trip are about $1400 to $1800, including air fare and lodging, depending on personal arrangements.  Please contact Agua Pura for more information.




Agua Pura Para El Pueblo is a registered 501(c)(3) non profit and volunteer expenses are considered a charitable donation to the extent allowed by federal law.


Time To Celebrate!

by Tom Carter on February 17th, 2014
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Agua Pura’s goal is to improve the lives of the people we serve, one family at a time.  Supported by your generous donations, we have helped communities throughout Latin American improve their lives and their health with very simple, practical things people can do for themselves.  It’s very rewarding and satisfying work, and scrolling down our website you can read about our projects over the last years.

Last year saw some of our most successful and long lasting projects and this year is shaping up to have more of the same.  Now it’s time to celebrate and share our successes with you, our supporters.

Agua Pura is hosting a celebration and fund raising event on Friday, March 21 at La Bonita Mexican Restaurant in Portland. There will be a delicious buffet of the restaurant’s specialties including vegetarian options. We’ll have entertainment and a silent auction for gifts we’ve brought back from our trips. Most importantly, we’ll show slides of our past projects and talk about new ones coming up this year.

Please join us:
Where: La Bonita North Restaurant
    2710 N Killingsworth St.

When: 8:30 till 10:30 PM
    Friday, March 21, 2013

Cost: $45 dollars for tickets purchased in advance
    $50 dollars the night of the event


Purchase your tickets via EventBrite or send a check to:
Agua Pura Para El Pueblo
15035 SE Monner Road
Happy Valley, Oregon 97086

Thanks very much for your continued support and we’ll see you at La Bonita! 

Remember, Agua Pura Para El Pueblo is a registered 501(c)(3) non profit and a portion of your donation may be considered tax deductible.



by Tom Carter on November 23rd, 2013
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Agua Pura traveled to Peru in October visiting several different parts of the country over a three week period, giving our workshops to families and health workers in the communities we visited. The programs were well received and had a positive impact on the people there.

Lima, Peru

Lima, like most cities around the world attracts many poor rural families who come looking for a better life. They often end up in slums illegally built in areas without basic services like water or sanitation. When we first arrived in Lima we visited some of these newest “invasion communities” with our hosts, Portland based Health Bridges International. They have several programs in Peru working with other groups and churches to bring basic health care to these people, and they asked us to give a workshop to their health workers on basic water and sanitation.

The health workers brought us water samples from their communities to test for bacterial contamination, then at the workshop we went over the results of the testing and suggested ways that they could make their water safe to drink, and distributed Water Pasteurization Indicators (WAPI’s) to them. We encouraged the participants to use the WAPI’s and to show them to their neighbors as well. We will follow the progress of these health workers and support them as they share their knowledge with their communities.

After three days in Lima we rode a bus up the arid coast of Peru and over the mountains to a beautiful valley high in the Andes. The town of Yungay is nearly 9000 feet in elevation and surrounded by peaks up to 22,000 feet. It was the site of a terrible earthquake and avalanche in 1970 that wiped out the original town and killed over 30,000 people.

Workshop in Yungay

We stayed with our hosts Health Bridges at an orphanage located above the relocated town of Yungay. Our project was to work with families in surrounding communities to again check their water supplies and help them with methods to make the water safe. We also trained some of the older students from the orphanage to test water accurately so that they now can become a health resource for their neighbors. The program was very well received and we were asked to return and present similar programs in other local communities. Next time we will have our newly trained health resource students help us.

Our final stop was the “white city” of Arequipa – built with a white volcanic stone which gives it a shimmering quality in the bright sunlight of the the altiplano. It’s very dry there and has the same problem of spreading “invasion communities” as Lima. Again we stayed with our hosts and presented our program to a group of well organized health representatives from these communities. These groups were impressively knowledgeable and motivated to help their neighbors.

Overall our trip was very satisfying and well received, and I think we will be returning to Peru in the future to continue our work.

Support Agua Pura’s work.


Clean Water Techniques for Wounaan Families

by Allie Carter on September 19th, 2013
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Wax temperature indicators (WAPIs) help families know if their water is safe to drink. Buy WAPIs for Agua Pura’s Projects.

As you know, Agua Pura Para El Pueblo advocates for very simple, inexpensive methods of water purification. Rather than wait for expensive wells or complicated water systems, we teach ways that individual families can have safe drinking water NOW.

==> Support Agua Pura’s Efforts

These are family and community based options that are inexpensive and immediate. We distribute simple reusable devices that tell when water has been heated adequately to kill the pathogens and we show simple methods of sanitation to keep clean water clean.

In Panama our workshops have women and children attending, wanting to know ways to help their families stay healthy. Sometimes they know their drinking water is contaminated and the children are getting sick from drinking it, but they have no other choice. Our programs try to show different ways that these mothers use to make their water safe, and to keep their families from getting sick.


Hand washing stations prevent the spread of disease. Help provide hand washing stations in Panama and Peru.

The simplest and most overlooked way to prevent illness in families is hand washing. Even if the drinking water is clean, if people don’t wash after using the latrine or changing the baby they can contaminate the food and water that their families consume. In some places water is scarce and expensive and so hand washing is often not done. Agua Pura teaches about how germs cause disease and how they can easily be transferred from person to person. We show how to have simple but effective hand washing stations available that use very little water but still help prevent disease. These simple devices can be made from discarded water bottles and an inexpensive bar of soap. We help families make and use these washing stations and share the ideas with their neighbors.



Every school should have a place for children to wash their hands and Agua Pura works to provide wash stations for them at all of our projects. Sometimes the school children have never washed their hands because of lack of water, so we teach the students to wash after using the school latrine and before lunch.







Often contaminated water is not treated because of the expense. Firewood and other fuel is expensive and sometimes difficult to obtain in Panama. Boiling water regularly is beyond the resources of many poor families. Agua Pura showed people inexpensive simple ways to make their water safe. Reflective solar stoves can heat water to temperatures high enough to kill pathogens. They are easy to make and use the sun to heat water and to cook food. We also distributed Water Pasteurization Indicators that can show when the water is safe to drink.





“Rocket” stoves provide another method to pasteurize water. Support Agua Pura’s efforts

We also demonstrated simple trash burning stoves that are safe and inexpensive to use at night and during rainy seasons and easily purify water. The stoves are insulated and make little smoke and so are safer and better to use indoors.






January Congress of the Wounaan Peoples

by Allie Carter on September 18th, 2013
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Last January the Wounaan people of Panama invited us to attend their biannual Congress to discuss the issue of their contaminated drinking water and what Agua Pura could do to help. We traveled to an isolated traditional village several hours out of Panama City to meet with them. Wounaan people came from many different communities to spend several days discussing important issues such as education, economic development and health. There were meetings during the day and traditional dancing and entertainment in the evenings. The Wounaan people are very self reliant, organized and democratic, and both men and women speak freely and vote for their leadership. Our discussions quickly took on a more urgent tone when I tested some of the local water sources and found them to be a high risk for disease with E. coli bacteria – a sure indicator of fecal contamination. At that point the leadership of the Wounaan asked for our help in establishing a water testing and monitoring program for their at risk communities.

Agua Pura Para El Pueblo has accepted the challenge and responsibility to help the Wounaan people improve their water supply and guard theirfamilies health. We have already returned once to teach workshops on water testing and water pasteurization to Wounaan health workers and community leaders and are planning frequent future programs. Your generous support in the past has made our work possible.

Can you make another contribution now to help us bring safe drinking water to Wounaan Families? You can contribute here: Agua Pura Wounaan Project