SINGER ISLAND ROTARY
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INITIATIVE 2016
1. The local population we are assisting consists of families of Haitian sugar cane workers who have been imported from Haiti and have become permanent residents. They live in villages called bateys (pronounced baTAYS) located amid the sugar cane fields outside of LaRomanna, a town on the SE coast of the Dominican Republic.
2. The problem we are dealing with is polluted drinking water which leads to chronic dysentery illness and water borne diseases. The solution is individual water filters installed in each abode within the bateys. The process of providing these filters has been going on for some years, largely sponsored by other Rotary clubs who are doing what we are proposing to do. The filter shells are about the size of a trash barrel and are filled with layers of bio sand and aggregate. Enzymes (good bugs) in the filter destroy the bacteria (bad bugs) in the water and produce potable water. Typically the locals obtain water from streams and wells (all polluted) with buckets and pour the water into the top of the filter. Drinking water comes out the bottom. Properly used the filters last indefinitely. They cost $115 each. In bateys where water filters have been installed the incidence of water-related sickness has been virtually eliminated.
3. Installing the filters requires some manual labor but we are informed that it is not intense or more demanding than the average person can handle. We would work at a rather leisurely pace because that's the way it's done in that part of the world. For folks with an aversion to manual labor there is lots of administrative work to be done such as tracking where the numbered filter components are installed, recording family demographics, and teaching how to use the filters. There will be a local interpreter available. The local Good Samaritan Hospital chief is the overseer of the filter project. He is also president of one of the Rotary clubs.