Thursday, 18 of September of 2014

Clean Water Techniques for Wounaan Families

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

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





Danis’ fight to protect the health of her community

Danis is a young Wounaan woman living in a remote village in Eastern Panama. These indigenous communities are often isolated and transportation is by dug out canoe over jungle rivers. She is a very good student but to continue her education she had to attend government boarding schools far away from her home. Today she is studying Nursing, but her goal is to someday become a doctor to help her people.

We first met Danis when she attended Agua Pura’s four day training program in Yaviza to learn our modern methods of water and sanitation. From the very first we were impressed by her intelligence and dedication She studied how to test her communities drinking water for bacterial contamination and learned various ways to make drinking water safe to drink. She was a leader in her training and helped others as well. Agua Pura provided her with testing supplies and water pasteurization indicators to take back to her village, and now she is now back in her community assisting her neighbors keep their drinking water safe.

Agua Pura’s goal is to train and support more people like Danis. We give them water testing and purification supplies and work with them to help their community. These supplies are inexpensive but vital to the health of Wounaan families and children. Your generous donations go directly back to the Wounaan people by helping Danis and others help themselves and their neighbors have safe drinking water. Rather than waiting for someone to provide clean wells or water purification equipment, you are helping  families TODAY.

Can you support Danis’s and other Wounaan communities by donating now?


Agua Pura Visits Panamá

Agua Pura recently returned from a great trip to Panama where we worked with the Wounaan indigenous people to help them provide clean drinking water for their communities.  The Wounaan are a well organized tribal group living in Eastern Panama and dedicated to improving the health and welfare of their people. In recent years they have faced increased problems with contaminated drinking water supplies due to illegal logging and cattle ranching on their lands.  
Last January, Agua Pura Para El Pueblo was invited to attend the biannual Congress of the Wounaan where we discussed providing training and support for water testing and water purification programs.  We offered to train health workers from different communities in modern methods of water testing and demonstrate simple methods of water purification to families and community leaders.  These trained persons then would return to their communities to share their information with others.
Here are some photos taken at our July training program.  We spent 5 days in Yaviza, Panama meeting with representatives of 6 indigenous Wounaan villages.  These people were very interested in learning ways they could help their communities.  Yaviza is at the very end of the PanAmerican highway and many of the participants came long distances by dug out canoe to attend.
We felt that the program was very successful and look forward to continuing to assist the Wounaan people in providing safe drinking water for their communities.

Agua Pura acaba de regresar de un viaje muy bueno a Panamá, donde se trabajó con los indígenas Wounaan para ayudarles a proporcionar agua potable a sus comunidades. Los Wounaan son un grupo tribal bien organizado que vive en Panamá Este y dedicada a mejorar la salud y el bienestar de sus pueblos. En los últimos años se han enfrentado mayores problemas con el suministro de agua potable contaminados debido a la tala y la ganadería ilegales en sus tierras.
En enero pasado, Agua Pura Para El Pueblo fue invitado a asistir al Congreso bianual de la Wounaan donde hablamos sobre la capacitación y el apoyo para las pruebas de agua y programas de purificación de agua. Nos ofrecieron a capacitar a los trabajadores de salud de las diferentes comunidades de los métodos modernos de análisis de agua y demostrar métodos sencillos de purificación de agua a las familias y líderes comunitarios. Estas personas capacitadas luego regresarían a sus comunidades para compartir su información con terceros.
Aquí están algunas fotos tomadas en nuestro programa de entrenamiento de julio. Pasamos 5 días en Yaviza, Panamá reunión con representantes de 6 pueblos indígenas Wounaan. Estas personas estaban muy interesadas en aprender formas en que podrían ayudar a sus comunidades. Yaviza es al final de la carretera Panamericana y muchos de los participantes llegó a grandes distancias por canoa para asistir.
Nos pareció que el programa fue muy exitoso y esperamos continuar ayudando al pueblo Wounaan en el suministro de agua potable para sus comunidades.

Arrival By Canoe



Participants testing water from their communities

Participants shared their knowledge

Learning to Cook and Pasteurize water with a Solar Stove

Solar Stove Cooking

Making Simple Solar Stoves

It was a fun experience for all

Examining the results of water testing

Each Participant Received a Diploma For their Study

Studying program

Yaviza Workshop Graduates






Our Year End Thank You For Your Support

Dear Friends-
We hope that this end of the year letter finds you in good health and enjoying the Christmas holidays with your families and friends.  Recent tragic events here in Portland and elsewhere around the county and world tend to make us appreciate and cherish  those close to us even more.  We  do believe that the world is slowly becoming a better, safer place however, and that when we focus on that fact we can see past our current problems to a more positive future for us all.
You are part of that better future we can see. With your help and support our organization and others like ours have been able to continue to work this year and plan for future programs.  
It’s been another busy year for us at Agua Pura and we look forward to the growing challenges and growing opportunities in the years ahead.
Those of you who follow our work on our website  or have contributed to our Global Giving campaign may be familiar with some of our programs, but for others I want to briefly share some of our progress and our successes this last year.
Agua Pura works by cooperating with other non profits.  We are invited and hosted by  organizations and government agencies.  We do not come and build things for people, but instead help them provide for themselves.  We teach health leaders to test drinking water for contamination and support them with the tools and supplies for their work.  We show families how to make their own water safe to drink, rather than wait for someone to provide a well.  We show how improved sanitation can keep them and their families healthy and safe.  Our motto is “una familia a la vez” which means one family at a time.

This year we spent time in Southern Mexico working with our partners at Amextra the Mexican Association for Urban and  Rural Transformation.  They have a number of programs throughout Mexico and we worked with them in Mexico City and in Palenque in Chiapas State.  We trained their staff in modern methods of water testing and simple methods of pasteurization.  We also helped repair and restore a school latrine that was not functioning and added a hand washing station so that the students had a safe, sanitary bathroom at their school.

Here in Oregon we have trained and supported several volunteer groups with other non-profits that were going to Latin America countries such as Nicaragua and Peru.  This helps extend our impact into new areas, and where we can follow up with other programs in the future.   
We’ve started taking interested volunteers with us on our projects  as a way to train more staff and to help with our programs.  We work mostly in Spanish, but even beginner level skills can be helpful and local families love to talk and find out more about us and our programs.  If you are interested in participating, or want to be trained in water testing methods please let us know.

These are only a few of the programs we have worked on this last year.  You can read a lot more about them here on our website and our Global Giving site.  We are extremely grateful to you and our other friends and never take you for granted. If you wish to make a year end contribution to support our work we would really appreciate it.  You can donate through our secure website or send a check directly.  Of course all donations are 100% tax deductible.
Thank you very much and please stay in contact, I love to hear from our friends.
Tom Carter
Executive Director
Agua Pura Para El Pueblo