Nov 29 , 2011

John FreemanJohn Freeman, Ph.D., Rice professor emeritus, research professor and director of our Master of Liberal Studies program, traveled to Cuba in mid-November on a mission for clean drinking water. Below is his account of the trip.

“One of every seven people on Earth do not have clean water to drink. In Cuba 90 percent of the population does not have clean water.

“For the last four years I have been working with a team from two Houston-area Presbyterian churches that installs water purification systems in developing countries. We have installed water systems in the Yucatan of Mexico, Haiti and last week, Cuba. Yes, Cuba is a developing country with an average per capita income of several dollars a day.

“The pictures below show the water system we installed at Eglesia de La Playa near Matansaz, Cuba. We use a system based on filtration and Ozonation to purify the water. Ozone is bubbled through the water as it passes into the clean water tank. Our system can supply about 300 gallons of water a day. Local patrons bring their empty bottles to be refilled at the water station. In addition to the installation of our system and training of the local operators our team also teaches the people (primarily women and children) about sanitation and how to properly use the clean water for good health.

“Our system takes about four days to install and we were in Cuba for about a week. So, we had some time to visit with our hosts and do some sight-seeing. The Cubans are a warm and welcoming people. It was wonderful to meet them and enjoy their friendship. Cuba is a lovely country, filled with beautiful beaches and lush, green mountains. At present Cuba is closed to U.S. tourists. (We were traveling on religious visas - which is legal.) If and when Cuba opens to American tourists it will be, I am sure, a popular destination. A street scene and country scene are pictured below. I hope everyone can visit Cuba some day.”

Good work, John! You are an inspiration to your students and colleagues. If you are interested in learning more about this effort, you can email John for more information.

Cuban trainee A Cuban trainee gets instruction on the use of the water system.
Faucets The faucets and sink for bottling clean water.
Cuban street scene A Cuban street scene.
Cuban country-side The verdant Cuban country-side from a tourist view spot.

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