Episcopal Diocese of Albany, NY
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Prescribing Prevention
Annual Meeting Report
8-27-2006

“…there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people found fault with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you find fault with me?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses, and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?” So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rocks at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.”
-Exodus 17:1 – 6

Well, we have to have faith that this project will be successful and result in helping to prevent waterborne illnesses in the Dominican Republic. The bad news is that we have been led out into the wilderness and then the contacts that we have relied upon in the Dominican Republic have more or less deserted us. Without someone in the Dominican Republic that can help facilitate this project, the project’s progress has been minimal. If the rock has indeed been struck, not a drop of moisture has yet come forth.

The good news is that, as of the latest bank statement (that has come my way), the funds raised for the water project stand at $3,445.64, none so far have been spent, and they are gaining interest. Even better news is that a handout has been prepared, entitled “Prescribiendo Prevencion” (in Spanish). This publication explains the importance of safe water as well as how safe water can be obtained in Buen Pastor. When the medical mission team left for the Dominican Republic last February, they were supplied with some of these handouts so that they could either give them to or read them to (illiteracy could be a possible problem) anyone whom they treated for an illness that could be caused by unsafe water. The brochure was entirely a volunteer effort and did not diminish the project’s funds.

The Centro Buen Pastor summer 2006 newsletter indicates that Episcopal Relief and Development as well as the Rotarians of Lincoln, Nebraska and of Tryon, N.C. have funded continuing efforts on the part of Water Missions International to provide a community scale water treatment plant for the production and sale of bottled water at Buen Pastor. This bottling plant has yet to be started up. When I volunteered to help with the start-up, the Water Mission’s International staff asked me for a “statement of faith”. However, when I complied, I was sure that my statement of faith did not meet their Southern Baptist criteria. (Former president Carter and I have at least one thing in common.) I will try again to see what support the Episcopal Relief and Development folks could give to our Episcopal project.

Dr. Pedro Bernal, who has been successful with his “Two Bucket Home Water Purification System” promised to try a second time to make his system available to the people around Buen Pastor. However, he did not go to the Dominican Republic this summer. The Peace Corps has volunteers in the Dominican Republic, and one has been contacted by e-mail. The volunteer contacted seems anxious to help with providing safe water to people in the Dominican Republic who need it, but her thoughts indicate that the work should concentrate on the cultural, educational issues instead of on the purification technology. Those thoughts seem very insightful to me because before anyone will invest time, effort, and money on safe water, they will first have to understand how important safe water is. At any rate, the Peace Corps may be able to provide the guidance in the wilderness. Finally, the Chairman of our Prescribing Prevention effort now has a passport and has been saving his donation to the project for transportation. I plan to travel to the Dominican Republic with the medical mission team, or with Dr. Bernal, or even on my own, carrying the rod that Moses bequeathed to me, and then perhaps the rock will deliver its bounty.

Paul Gutmann, Chairman
Prescribing Prevention water project

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