Many lives will be changed

Published 9:04 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Clean, fresh water is something we tend to take for granted here in America. Even in the poorest neighborhoods, one can expect the water that flows from his taps to be free of the microorganisms that might cause sickness, and the abundance of that water is evident in everything from car washes to the Ice Bucket Challenge that captured the Internet’s attention last year.

But Americans’ easy access to clear, clean water is not a luxury to be found in many developing and Third World countries. In many parts of the world, finding healthy water is a daily task of survival.

According to, a nonprofit organization working to provide safe drinking water and sanitation around the world, more than 750 million people around the globe — approximately one in nine people — lack access to clean drinking water. Among the results is an estimated 840,000 people who die each year from diseases related to drinking unclean water.

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Members of Suffolk Presbyterian Church have been working since 2008 to help change those sad statistics, at least for residents of an area in Central America. A group of six members just returned from a trip to Guatemala, where they helped install a water purification system in a school.

It was the church’s third such installation, and there are signs that the efforts have made a difference. Members of the mission team said teachers at a school where the team had previously installed a system reported fewer absences due to waterborne illnesses after the system was installed. The team hopes for the same result in this new school.

The challenges of the Third World sometimes can seem inscrutable and insurmountable to those raised in the First World. Kudos to the folks at Suffolk Presbyterian Church, who recognized that they could help meet one of the most basic needs of a community desperate for help. Many lives will be changed because of their selflessness.