Around 2002, I donated a $700 Katadyn water filter to an orphanage in Haiti. I instructed them on the use of the filter, and asked them to be sure and filter water for the neighbours of the orphanage too… to build up good relationships with their community. They seemed amazed that such a small piece of equipment (around 10 pounds) would actually work to create clean water, but after I drank water purified by the unit, they were convinced.
The filter was rated for 20,000 gallons, so I told them whenever they used it up, to let me know and I would send them another cartridge. I thought we were golden when I left.
Because the filter was so expensive, after I left, it got put into a locked closet. It was rarely taken out and used. I don’t believe it was ever used for the neighbors and rarely for the orphans.
Eventually, someone broke into the closet, or an employee with a key, not sure which, stole the water filter and sold it. The money did not, to my understanding, go to serve the orphans in any way. I have always hoped that someone was getting clean water from it, but who knows?
What did I learn? Portable isn’t always good. High tech isn’t always good. Be aware that not all people are honest. Poverty is a bitch. Solving problems isn’t easy.