Primero Agua Continues to Make Progress In Honduras - The Missourian: Feature Stories

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Primero Agua Continues to Make Progress In Honduras

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Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 12:15 am | Updated: 5:04 pm, Tue Aug 27, 2013.

A drill team with Primero Agua (Water First) returned from Honduras earlier this month.

They drilled two wells and completed installing a hand pump in a remote village where, at best, people only have access to water about every three days and for only two hours.

That brings the number of wells drilled this year to four, said Jay Quattlebaum, Primero Agua president and co-founder.

“The equipment ran well, and everything went well,” he remarked, noting they even dodged a hurricane.

A nonprofit foundation whose objective is to help bring clean potable water to the people of Honduras, Primero Agua is a sister organization to the Washington Overseas Mission. It was formed in 2010.

Primero Agua works in partnership with a Honduran sister-foundation, “El Agua Tu Prioridad” (Your Priority Water), to design and implement sustainable water projects in under served communities.

Currently Primero Agua, which will hold its third annual fundraiser, “A Driller’s Dream,” Saturday, Sept. 15, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the John B. Busch Brewery in Washington, makes two trips a year to Honduras to drill wells, one in spring around February or March and a second in the summer.

To keep projects moving forward in between trips, Primero Agua also strives to train their Honduran counterparts on how to run the equipment and drill the wells. They have sent one man to Houston for training and hope to send more.

“We want to bring more to the States for training, and we train them while we’re down there, too,” said Quattlebaum.

Shortly after Primero Agua was formed in 2010, it received a drilling rig that was donated by Terracon Consultants out of Kansas City. This rig was refitted in Texas and shipped to Honduras in 2011.

Earlier this year, Primero Agua was able to purchase a 5-ton crane, a utility truck and an additional small drilling rig with a Global Grant from Rotary. The crane and truck were purchased in Honduras and are now in operation. The small drilling rig is scheduled to be shipped this week.

The goal of this year’s “A Driller’s Dream” fundraiser is $15,000, which will be used to purchase an additional support truck and equipment.

During a visit to Washington last fall, Dr. Raul Ugarte, the mayor of Pimienta in Cortes, Honduras, outlined for The Missourian how these wells are changing the lives of people in Honduras.

Without wells, the people only have access to water every few days and then only for a couple of hours total. In that time, they turn the faucet on and leave it on to collect as much water as possible, which they store in open containers.

“Each home or school has a pila water basin behind it,” Dr. Ugarte explained. “A pila is a concrete container that may have a washboard built into it because it is where people wash everything. It sits outside the kitchen.

“The problem is that the pila sits full of water for three days and becomes a good source for dengue fever, a tropical disease in the area, caused by mosquitoes. People who get dengue often die immediately by bleeding out . . . these are constant dangers.”

If the people had access to clean water more often, they wouldn’t have open containers of water sitting around waiting to become diseased, said Dr. Ugarte.

‘A Driller’s Dream’

Tickets to “A Driller’s Dream” are available in advance by calling Sam Unnerstall at 636-346-6987 or sending an email to primeroagua@gmail.com.

The evening will include live music from the Schmitts and Grins Band, heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer, margaritas, dancing, both silent and oral auctions and a special auction for men.

Special VIP tickets also are available. They include premium beer and wine, a commemmorative Primero Agua coozie and lanyard, and a chance to win a very nice prize.

For more information, people can visit Primero Agua’s website at www.primeroagua.org.

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