Campers get creative in the mud kitchen in Fern's Forest Fort at the Lakeside Baptist Church Vacation Bible School on Aug. 4. This year the theme was Wilderness Escape and the camp ran from Aug. 1 to 5 with more than 100 kids and approximately 40 volunteers.

Variety show funds chlorinator for Water Ambassadors

By Darren Lum

Water Ambassadors Canada is congratulating Eleanor Cooper for helping them bring clean drinking water to Venezuelans by organizing the variety talent fundraiser held last November at the West Guilford Community Centre.

With the support of local musicians and entertainers such as Carl Dixon Bill Gliddon Wayne Cooper Cheryl Cohoon Heritage Ballet dancers Luba Cargill David and Shirley Barker the first ever variety event helped to raise a little more than $2000.

Water Ambassadors is a non-profit organization that works to provide clean safe drinking water to impoverished people living in developing countries through building and repairing wells installing water filtration and chlorination systems constructing bio-sand filters and teaching health and hygiene.

Water Ambassadors founder Barry Hart said the money helped the Water Ambassadors purchase a chlorinator which was given to Venezuelan Dr. Evelitce Gutierrez De Gines who will use it on her travels to bring clean drinking water to hundreds if not thousands of people in communities across Venezuela.

She was trained by the Water Ambassadors to use the chlorinator which is a small 12-volt (car battery) unit that separates salt into sodium and chlorine gas Water Ambassadors CEO Barry Hart wrote in an email. The portable unit needs only a handful of salt to produce enough chlorine gas to purify up to 10000 gallons of water per day.

"This portable system can be used very effectively in permanent situations and also in disaster relief like we did in Haiti after the earthquake" Hart writes.

Contaminated drinking water is the biggest cause of death and disease in the world he said.

"The economy and infrastructure in Venezuela has collapsed in recent years. Hyperinflation has made their currency worthless and there is little food clean water transportation or medical care. While thousands of Venezuelan refugees per day are leaving their country with the hope of finding a better life some choose to stay and help their people" a Water Ambassadors report states.

Cooper said the inspiration for the event came from reading the Echo story Haliburtonian helps Venezuelans access water.

The Echo columnist said learning about the Venezuelans' plight broke her heart and she was committed to helping.

Cooper was happy to learn about what the money will be able to do.

"It's nice to know that the money is being put to good use by the people who need it" she said.

She said the funds raised exceeded expectations and she appreciated the support of those who helped and those who attended.

"The response was beyond what I expected. I had no idea that people would be that generous" she said.