How did ELWA end up with a desperately needed, expensive new water system? Our amazing God orchestrated a remarkable series of events, using partners working together, and the very generous donation from Parker Hannifin. It's a great story!
At the end of August, at the height of the Ebola outbreak, ELWA was a center of activity in the treatment of Ebola patients. MSF (Doctors Without Borders) had ELWA 3, the largest Ebola Treatment Center (ETU) in the world, with more than 300 beds. ELWA 2, lead by Dr. Jerry Brown, had the highest survival rate in Liberia, while ELWA 1 was the only hospital in the country remaining open for other medical care. The water and sewage demands on an old, war-torn system were unimaginable.
Our partner, Feed My Starving Children has a network of relief and missions organizations that offer additional aid and resources to partners receiving their food. During that time they spoke with Andrew Armstrong, who works for Water Missions International (WMI) . WMI was looking to respond to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia by sending water treatment and sanitation equipment and resources to Liberia, and was looking for partners on the ground in Liberia with whom to collaborate. FMSC contacted their partners in Liberia to see if they were interested in WMI's services.
EMAUSA board member Perry Moore receive this e-mail, and promptly responded to WMI, describing the work of ELWA, and EMAUSA. He volunteered to rally folks at ELWA to help. WMI replied describing their progress thus far, including having deployed two shipments of water treatment equipment and materials, their work with other agencies and the government, and said that they had two engineers arriving September 15. They made no promises, but said they would be in touch after meeting with their partners, as well as the Government officials.
WMI asked the officials for their greatest needs -- and ELWA was first on their list! On September 23, they contacted Perry, and asked him to set up a meeting. He contacted Joe Wonkollie, James Kesselly, and the Service department at ELWA for a meeting the next morning. After the inspection, it was acknowledged that the situation was much worse than thought, and they proceeded to address the need.
One of WMI's people on the ground, Jeremy Rees, wrote in his blog for WMI,
"9.19.2014 | ELWA Hospital, Monrovia, Liberia
Today we received a call from the person in charge of the water systems at the ELWA (we learned today that ELWA stands for Eternal Love Winning Africa) hospital and Ebola units. Because the ELWA Ebola treatment units are being expanded rapidly and this location is now the largest Ebola treatment center in Liberia, they are having problems keeping up with the increasing demand for water. There are currently two pumping stations that deliver water to three separate water distribution systems.
We were able to assess the condition of four different wells and determine that they could seriously benefit from our Potable Water Chlorinators as well as a Grundfos pump. While they were dropping chlorine into the well every other week, the levels were not up to World Health Organization standards. This was particularly disconcerting at one well where piles of trash were littered all around and, again, no bathrooms were evident. The entire hospital gets its drinking water from these wells.
We developed a plan to install three stand-alone chlorinators, one on each distribution system. We have two chlorinators in country now that came with the air shipment. We will return to ELWA next week to install these two and train their maintenance people so that they will be able to install the third when the sea shipment arrives. This shipment also contains the chlorine tablets that will be needed to keep the water safe for the future. We left chlorine test strips with the staff at ELWA. We also plan to give them a full disaster response test kit before we leave so that they can do a better job of monitoring the water at this facility from now on. We will also leave them at least one of our spare submersible pumps since they have no spares of any kind and they are barely supplying the water demand now and the demand is increasing as Doctors Without Borders brings more Ebola units on line."
They subsequently returned to ELWA to install some chlorinators that would distribute safe water. In WMI's Fall Newsletter, they said, " WMI engineers and in-country nationals installed equipment providing clean water for the staff and patients of ELWA Hospital which serves 1,000 people. However, acknowledging that more needed to be done to help the ETU and surrounding community, WMI partnered with Parker Hannifin to develop three large water treatment systems, which will increase water production for the people in ELWA."
Meanwhile, a member of a church in Charlotte that a number of SIM members attend, contacted Steve Kejr to ask if there was something that Parker could do to help in Liberia. Steve Kejr told him to contact Alan Shea, who pointed him to the reports he had written up detailing what ELWA needed to sustain the Ebola Treatment Units. After they talked he contacted someone at Parker who got in touch with Alan.
Read about Parker Hannifin's involvement in this great news release
that outlined their generous gift, as well as the work at ELWA. They packed their containers in California, and generously allowed SIM to fill the empty spaces with additional equipment and supplies for ELWA.
The West Coast ports have been experiencing a work slowdown, and more than 30 container ships were anchored offshore, awaiting a resolution.
An amazing man named Michael Rettig, who founded and not-for-profit logistics company named LIFT somehow got the got the three water treatment containers donated by Parker-Hannifin (worth $60,000 each) IN AND OUT of that port in a week - at virtually no charge to SIM!!
We are so grateful to everyone who had a hand in this amazing journey -- Feed My Starving Children, Water Missions International, Parker Hannifin, LIFT, and so many more. People that "just happened" to be in the country. Chlorinators "just happened" to be available. People from many organizations willing to work together! We serve a mighty God who gives above and beyond what we ask. Praise Him for his faithfulness and provision!