Oklahoma Organization Aids Kenya

Thursday, February 19th 2009, 7:37 pm

By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahomans may take clean drinking water for granted, but around the world, thousands of people die each day because water sources are contaminated.

An organization in the metro is working against the problem in Kenya. Waterislife.com started up last summer and so far the organization has touched 1,000 lives in Kenya.

"The average Kenyan child gets about 8 oz. of water a day," said Ken Surrite. "That's not even enough to keep your brain hydrated."

The water that is consumed is often infected with illness-causing bacteria, including cholera, typhoid, even diarrhea turns deadly in Kenyans, who may already have a compromised immune system.

A team of Oklahomans started building wells in the African country, which they discovered was an imperfect solution.

"To a lot of people a good well is simply one that doesn't go dry," Aid worker William Nussbaum said. "Quality is not something they focus a lot on."

That's how waterislife.com was born, out of a need to filter the dirty water, which is sometimes the only water that many Africans have access to.

The organization's planners got together and found a solution in straw.

"Basically a water filter that uses membrane, iodine crystals and charcoal filtering," Surrite said. "That will produce two to three liters of water every day for a year for a child."

The water may not taste like water in America, but it's clean. The device used to filter the water costs $10.

"For me, I put it in perspective," Surrite said. "It's skipping one venti coffee at Starbucks. I can give a child water for a year...That's an easy choice to make."

Waterislife.com and its partners continue to help Kenya, where the clean water that comes out one end of the straw truly is life.

Water-is-life along with Twitter are trying to raise awareness and increase funding for the filter project in Kenya.


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