When a record high temperature was recorded in Peterborough last month, what did we all take for granted? Easy access to as much clean, fresh water as we needed to quench our thirst and cool us down, writes Rotary’s Janet Cooke.
When disaster strikes in many countries across the world, the fragile infrastructure is lost. Imagine the choice – watching your children die of thirst or giving them a drink from a polluted source risking them dying from one of many water-borne diseases.
In 1992 Wirksworth Rotary Club decided to do something about this and set up Aquabox to provide safe drinking water and humanitarian aid to those desperately in need. Since Aquabox was formed it has distributed more than 100,000 aid boxes and water filters to countries all over the world, helping hundreds of thousands of people in times of crisis. Their innovative AquaFilter produces safe, clean drinking water instantly and reliably without using chemicals. A single unit can deliver one litre per minute and millions of litres over its working life.
Local Rotarian Clive Doubleday organised a coach trip to allow members of Peterborough Ortons to see fellow Rotarians in action by touring the Aquabox depot. We were joined by friends, family and Rotarians from four other clubs; Peterborough, Huntingdon Cromwell, Stamford and Bingham. Refreshed by a drink of water we were shown a video and watched boxes being packed, all by volunteers. After being shown the construction of a filter we had a demonstration of water being processed and chance to sample for ourselves. The sub-micron filters remove bacteria and most viruses. Against a background of boxes awaiting shipment to Malawi, Lawrie Cooke, president of Huntingdon Cromwell, presented a £500 cheque to the Aquabox chair of trustees. Amazingly, apart from one part-time administrator, nobody receives a salary for their work on this amazing project – Rotary in Action.
Leaving our fellow Rotarians to their work, we next enjoyed a delicious lunch overlooking beautiful Carsington Water before our visit to the tramway village at Crich. Here we rode the trams, visited the tram sheds and tucked into afternoon tea and ice-cream. A wonderful and very memorable day of Rotary fun, food and fellowship.