10,000 Water is Life Straws Give Haitians Clean Drinking Water
Ken Surritte, the Water is Life founder, shows Haitians how to use the filter straw to get clean drinking water.
Thanks to donations by Oklahomans for filter straws from Water is Life, Haitians have ways to get clean drinking water.
By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY – After the earthquake struck, NEWS 9 teamed up with a local charity to raise awareness about the need for clean water in Haiti. Oklahomans responded with donations to Water is Life and now 10,000 filter straws are in the hands of Haitians.
The straws are providing clean drinking water and hope in a county that's desperate.
"Somebody said it's like a giant train wreck. There's trash debris absolutely everywhere. The smells and things are still overwhelming," said Water is Life founder Ken Surritte.
Even the dead haven't been buried, their bones lay among the trash. For Ken Surritte, the sights are heartbreaking.
"The adults there...there's just no hope. No look of joy. They're real despondent, lifeless, but if you look in the eyes of the kids, that's where the hope for Haiti is," Surritte said.
That's why the organization Surritte founded is committed to helping Haiti. He recently returned from the earthquake ravaged country where the straws were delivered through health clinics.
"Whenever there is anything that's available, there's mob mentality, and so anytime we wanted to do filter distribution, we needed to do that through community leaders, pastors in those areas," the Water is Life founder said.
Edmond dentist Ralph Willcox also went on the 10 day trip. He was able to help educate Haitians about health issues such as sanitation.
"A lot of this stuff that we take for granted here such as public restrooms, public sanitation, public water, electricity that comes on when you turn the switch on, it doesn't exist there," said Dr. Willcox.
But what does exist in Haiti is the compassion of Oklahomans who cared enough to provide clean drinking water.
"These are from the people I live, eat with and go to church with, go to school with, so yeah, that was pretty cool," Dr. Wilcox said.
"It was really, really exciting for me to be able to go and hand these filters out in the name of these people from Oklahoma," Surritte said.
Water is Life has a new goal of providing 5,000 more straws for the people of Haiti. It costs just $10 to purchase one of these filters and the founder hopes the money can be raised by October.
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