After a three-day rain delay, Team Outreach has returned to Pocone to begin teaching kids in rural schools about water cleanliness, filtration and preservation. Starting today at 7:00am and going until Friday of next week, we will be at Nazare, an orphanage and boarding school for victims of abuse and neglect. The kids here are a joy to work with, and are thrilled to be learning from us, working with us, and have a thousand questions for us about the USA. We have already lost our fair share of soccer games to throngs of ten-year-olds. The lesson for today was an introduction, and then we built molds for the bio-sand filters that we'll be making out of concrete, and then we collected water samples and plated them in petry dishes to test different water sources for bacteria.
Meanwhile, at PCER, all the footings of a water tower have been dug and poured. The plan for the water system has changed considerably: there will be one water tower, about 20ft. in height, and there will be a complex filtration and treatment system that will be installed with it. The filtration system will consist of an aerator connected to a settling tank for minerals, rust, and sediments; gravel filters; and finally sand filters to remove protozoans, some bacteria and all larger particles. There is a huge problem with sediment in the water at the end of the floods in the Pantanal. Water comes out of taps anywhere from clear-red to dark brown. While the iron oxides that cause most of the discoloration are not poisonousfor humans to ingest per-se, they can build up in plumbing, render laundry impossible (clothes are dyed red after washing), and give the water a bad taste. Excessive iron and other minerals could cause upset stomachs, so settling out as much as possible is an essential first step in treatment.