Tuesday, July 18, 2017

We're Getting Ready to Return to the USA

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

This is our last day in Paita. We met a lot of people, asked a lot of questions, and we're ready to return to our US home. We're leaving for the Piura airport at 3:30pm. We'll be eating Papa John's pizza before getting to the airport at 6:45pm. Our flight to Piura takes off at 7:45. It's a small airport and we need to arrive an hour before our flight to check-in, get through security and board the airplane flying to Lima.

We'll be home on Wednesday evening at 7:45pm. Our flight to Lima will arrive at 9:45pm this evening and we'll be spending the entire night in the airport, connecting with an American Airlines flight at 6:45am on Wednesday morning. We've got some time to think about all that we've learned this week.

Here are a few of the pictures we took today. Some of the things we did today, visited with some classrooms at St. Clare School, took a moto to the PRONOEI school where there are 4 and 5 year old students, visited a new hotel in the area (checking it out for the next team going to Peru), went to market looking for another plastic bucket for a water purification system, ate lunch and packed our suitcases.

4th Grade Students at St. Clare

Children at PRONOEI - 4 yr. old Program

Children at PRONOEI - 5 yr. old Program

Getting in Moto at PRONOEI School

New Hotel in Paita

Standing on Balcony in Hotel of City Roofs

Meet at the Market

Picture of the Sisters
Left to right S. Paula, S. Maribel, S. Monica, S. Paula and S. Matilde
Written by Deb

Monday, July 17, 2017

Last Full Day in Paita

Monday, July 17, 2017

We had visited each classroom briefly this am, took a photo of each class, and were treated to their joyful Monday assembly, complete with dance and greeting of us!!
This assembly is done every Monday morning.  There was also a short dance program done by the high school.

We are taking pictures of every classroom so that the corresponding grade at St. Paul School can send a picture of their grade and both schools will have a prayer exchange between the classrooms.

We knew that the medical team was exhausted when they finished last year, so today we opened the boxes and suitcases of supplies left behind, placed like with like, inventoried and consolidated everything, ready for June 2019!

Whew, last box to inventory!

Charlie S. coordinates these medical trips. If you know of anyone interested in doing medical outreach in another country, they should consider Peru. THANKS, CHARLIE, for everything you do!

Hi To Charlie and Miranda
Sr. Paula will be visiting the 25 families who were the first recipients of the Berkey Water Systems. These systems were installed in 2015 when Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) collaborated with St. Paul Parish. The people using the water systems may filter anywhere between 25 - 50 gallons of water each week. Sr. Paula will be testing these systems, making sure that they're still working properly. If they are failing, the families will receive new filters. Sixteen systems have been saved as replacements for those no longer working.

Earlier today, we walked two blocks to a store which sold mostly plastic household items (for buckets for follow up testing), then made our way to the very fortified entrance to Santa Clara school to see the children off.

Children Standing at Door Waiting for Parents

Mom Picking up Child from School
Dad Picking up Daughter on Motorcycle
We are sort of intrigued by the Mototaxi which is common, inexpensive transportation used by all, and completely unknown in the United States. Part of our intrigue is related to our knowledge of the dangers these commuters face--no American would feel comfortable on these roads, but the citizens of Paita contend with them multiple times daily.
A Line-up of Motos in Front of St. Clare School
 Written by both Lisa and Deb

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Giving Drink to the Thirsty

Sunday, July 16, 2017

What a day! We have been so blessed serving God's people in the tent town outside of Catacaos. This tent town has 32, very small, tent homes. Families have been moved to this location, with the help of their government, at the end of March.

We were told that the flooding occurred because of  a sudden and abnormal warming of Pacific waters of Peru. This warming had unleashed the deadliest downpours in decades, with landslides and the raging Piura River destroying everything in its way including people, cars, homes, and crops.  Here's what we saw when we first arrived. Click on a picture and you will be put into the scroll mode and see each picture in a large, screen-size format.

Street View of  Tent Village
One of the Homes

S. Monica Standing in Front of one Home
Kitchen - Located Outside of Tent

Inside of a Tent - Sleeps a Family of Four

Family in Living Room Outside of Tent

Common Meeting Area

Water For Community
After we arrived, word spread quickly that we were there. Everyone came out of their homes and greeted our group of nine;  the group included the five sisters, S. Monica, S. Matilde, S. Maribel, S. Paula, and S. Dora, two drivers, and Lisa and me.

Meeting the People Outside of Catacaos

Deb Training the Group on Using the System
S. Matilde Giving Water Purifier to Disaster Victim


S. Monica

S. Dora

S. Maribel

Beautiful Woman and her Baby
We distributed the buckets to 31 families. They were all very appreciative to receive this gift of clean water. They have some very big needs besides clean water...food, milk, insect repellent, beds, pots and pans, extension cords, solar flashlights and much, much more. They lost everything in the flooding!! Whatever you would need, they also need.

Even though these people live in a tent, the people keep themselves very clean. They are very proud, handsome/beautiful people. Look at how happy and clean these children look.

Children of Tent Town
The government has been giving the people land so that the flood victims can make a small, prefabricated homes in these safe, flood-free area. Many people have already moved and made new homes. The people who have moved have had enough money to purchase the supplies for a small home. The people left at this tent town just don't have the money to build a home and move. They lost everything. If they owned a home, the insurance does not cover the loss of their home and everything that was in it. They don't have a dime to their names. One picture above shows the inside of their home. What you see is what they own!

Thank you, donors for your generosity. You have helped a lot of people stay healthy by giving them a gift of clean water. Each donor will receive a picture of the recipient of a water purifier. The people in this community were told that their picture will be given to their donor and that their donor will pray for them.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

We're All Done Assembling, Testing and Getting Everything Ready for Transporting

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Ourselves and our bucket project are the only "goings on" upstairs in the sisters' house, so Deb and I got up this morning, and, still in our pajamas, started to cycle our individual system tests. We wanted to dump the water from the systems which "passed" the red food dye test overnight and use it to test the next ones.

Testing a Batch of Systems
Our wonderful helper from yesterday, Nils, reappeared, ready to work, so we just kept on going to make use of our volunteer. Finally at 1:30 pm we were called to lunch!
(Nils wanted us both in a selfie with him before he left, but I declined).

We worked our way through all 50 of the systems by late afternoon, got rid of all of the water (and didn't waste any because we were able to dump it into the cistern), and then called it quits once we had put the finishing touches on the 32 we plan to use tomorrow. We had to write in Spanish "unfiltered water" on the top bucket of the system, and "filtered water" on the bottom one. We also had to condense the travel size of the buckets, and place some written instructions and other essentials inside the bucket sets. I got the easy job, (writing legibly in Spanish) and Deb did the other tasks, (but she didn't complain--except about the taping of the lids--which is unfortunately necessary--they will be hauled in the back of a truck tomorrow and we want to keep the filters clean).

38 Systems Done - 12 More To Go

Taping Lids and Special Instructions Onto Buckets
Adding Agua Sin Filtrada and Agua Filtrada

32 Systems Ready for Families in Catacaos
The sisters eat a hearty meal at lunchtime and then have a sandwich or small meal later in the evening, so we were able to finish all of this by around 9pm and then get a bite and relax with the sisters. Off to bed, we have a big day tomorrow!


Friday, July 14, 2017

We're Finally Making Water Systems

Friday, July 14, 2017

After picking up the three suitcases from Piura and arrived back at home, we immediately went to work. We had already drilled holes in the bucket covers and buckets so that we could install the filters and test each system.

We need to make these systems for the families living in the tent homes in Catacaos.  Click on this link to see the flooding that took place in March. It's just awful. The other two pictures were taken from Peruvian newspapers showing the tent towns outside of Catacaos. We will be visiting this area on Sunday after Mass. We plan on delivering the systems to the homes, and training them on how to use them.

Niles, someone who works at the school, helped us  install the spigots into the bottom bucket. While he was doing that, Lisa and I primed  36 filters. We were very methodical in the way we worked on assembling each system. The key to doing this assembly/testing is to stay organized. Lisa and I have been working really well together. She is an awesome worker. (The only thing she doesn't do very well is peeling potatoes. LOL Inside joke!!!

As evening approaches, we're tired and we plan on getting in bed by 11. It's 10:23pm and we just completed testing  8 systems. 10 systems are still dripping away and must drip from the top bucket to the bottom bucket. If no red food coloring is in the bottom bucket, we know that the purifiers are working.  These 10 systems will finish overnight. We will continue this process for 32 more systems on Saturday. 

Hallelujah! We Received Our Baggage!

Friday, July 14, 2017

On Friday morning, we received a phone call with excellent  news. Our three suitcases were at the Piura airport. We took a taxi back to the airport this morning. Each time we traveled to Piura, (three times this week) the cost was around $50, and takes about an hour. The taxi driver waited patiently for us as we were talking with LATAM about our baggage. Each time it took at least 45 minutes to work with the airlines. What a patient driver!.  I could only imagine what it would cost in the United States to do something like this!

The sisters do not have a reliable vehicle (1980 Bronco) and use a taxi when guests stay with them. They have also rented a car or a van, (depending upon the size of the mission group) Thanks to Sister Monica for all the calls she made to Latam to locate our suitcases. Thanks to God for getting them to us in all one piece and in a timely manner.

We can now work on assembling and testing our 50 water purification systems.

Click on a picture below to view full-screen pictures and to scroll through all of the pictures.

Receiving the three suitcases from Latam

Can you see the smiles on our faces?

Man selling bread at the market


Giving Thanks!

Thursday, July 13

We did the easiest part of our water project by drilling the holes in the buckets and covers, Until we get the water filters from Customs in Lima, we won't be able to continue assembling these systems. We're going to drive to Piura on Friday to see if anyone at LATAM has been successful in getting our suitcases to Piura.

We went to Mass at 7pm this evening in Paita and talked with the parish priest, Padre Pedro. He told us that he visited with the people in a tent city outside of Catacaos and took the people food, clothing, and miscellaneous household goods. Due to the flooding of the Piura River in March, many people lost their homes and everything in it. Temporary housing was setup for the people in tents. Many of these people don't have anything except for the shirts on their backs. They lost their farming jobs because the fertile ground was stripped away from the earth and the farm fields need to be rebuilt. For most of these families, life has come to an end as they knew it and they are starting all over. Lisa and I are talking about how we can help them back in the USA.

We give thanks to God for everything we have been given by Him.
The Altar
Our Lady of Mercy

St. Francis and Jesus
S. Matilde, Lisa, Padre Pedro, Deb and S. Paula