Stories from the field

Tanzania, Africa

While John Hays, PWFA founder, was in Tanzania working on providing clean drinking water to rural communities, a local man asked if he could show him something important. The man took John to a very large field that had small piles of hay dotting the field as far as the eye could see. John, an Iowa native, couldn't figure out the significance of what he was seeing. The man then proceeded to explain to him that each one of the hay mounds marked a grave site, where a child was buried. The cause of death, drinking diseased, contaminated water. Overcome with grief and pained by the large number of graves, John immediately started on getting units to work in the area, treating and cleaning up the local water supplies. A short time later, reports started coming out of the same region. There was great joy in the knowledge that since the installation of the water systems, John learned that there had been no new hay mounds added to the field. 

May 2008 a deadly Cyclone tore through the country of Myanmar, leaving more than 130,000 people dead in it's wake. The devastation beyond human comprehension.  PWFA received a call in the weeks following the disaster, asking if our organization had a way to purify water with "dead bodies floating in it."  Immediately we knew we had to respond and sent a team in to relieve the suffering. Allowed access into the hardest hit areas, PWFA worked with government officials in distributing 80 water units directly to the survivors.  A tremendous difference was seen in the health of the people as they began rebuilding their lives.
PWFA had empowered them and given them a hand up, not a hand out. 

Haiti, April 2009:

More than half of the eight million people living in Haiti don't have access to clean water.  In April 2009, ten chlorine producing units were purchased and taken into Haiti with 6 water units being distributed in Jacmel.

Six locals were trained to use the chlorine producing units and when they return to their communities, provide clean drinking water for the first time ever!

Working alongside an organization called Mission of Hope the other 4 water units were placed. Two were placed in remote mountain villages with the final two were placed in orphanages.


Cameroon, Africa

A request came into PWFA from a Pygmy village in Cameroon.  The people there were desperate and dying from diseased water.  Surrounding tribes regarded them as lower than dogs and unworthy of any help because of long standing prejudice against Pygmies.  Water units were distributed within this forgotten village. The people are now healthy, happy and forever grateful to have received help.  The gratitude was demonstrated in the next child being born in the village being named after John Hays. The only thing this humble and simple people ask for is assistance to be offered to other Pygmy tribes who are still suffering from dirty water sources.  They want others like them to experience the precious life giving gift of clean drinking water. 

Niger, September 2009:

Niger is considered one of the world's least developed countries. It has high infant, child and maternal mortality rates as there is limited access to sanitation facilities and clean water.

PWFA was able to send 21 water units and train local leaders in how to use them to bring life saving clean water to people living in rural outlying areas.

African Village

The sounds of the African plains fill the night as John Hays attempts to get some sleep. It is difficult with the stifling heat and the biting of the bugs but most heart wrenching are the cries that are heard from young village children and babies.  The cries caused from piercing belly pain due to parasitic and other infections caused from ingesting untreated water.  At times the crying will stop only to be replaced by the wails of a mother who holds her now lifeless child in her arms.  PWFA was able to install a water unit in this village to assist in preventing future water borne illnesses.  The sorrow of knowing we were too late for some, knowing that we can make a difference in the lives of others keeps us going. 

Asia, November 2009:

Typhoon Ketsana struck several SE Asia countries displacing hundreds of thousands of residents in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Residents there have been left without shelter, food or access to clean drinking water. PWFA sent 80 water units directly into these hard hit regions.