Bernal’s project employs a simple approach—Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage—which the World Health Organization has designated as a viable solution for water sanitation.
“Our filter is a device that people can put in their own homes, so they can purify a small amount of water that is good enough to drink,” he explains. “When I was first exposed to this work, there was already a filter in place. Since then we’ve done tons of work on the ground, and we have tweaked the system. Our filters are an improved version of what already existed.”
“We check pH, turbidity, and chlorine,” Rosendahl explains.
The numbers determine immediate next steps—whether the team will install new filters or service existing filters—and contribute to Bernal’s collection of long-term data about the water filters.
“They are walking into people’s homes, talking with them,” Bernal says. “Eating with someone who’s cooking for them. It’s community engagement at its best.”
“People from the countryside share absolutely everything with you,” Mera says. “It’s incredible. They will ask you to sit down, and then they will go to the neighbor’s house to find chairs.”
“And not only that—they’ll come with a tray of coffee!” adds Rosendahl.
“I didn’t even know that you could actually mix chemistry with community work,” Mera says. “So it actually made me realize that what I’m doing currently is really what I want to do. When I go back next time, I want to go as a student leader.”
We make a brighter world happen
Help build an ecolodge in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Create a community garden at a school in Rwanda. Consult for France’s most innovative companies. At Rollins, you’ll make an impact around the globe. After all, more than 70 percent of Tars study abroad. From semester- and summer-long programs to faculty-led field studies, you’ll explore the world and test your ability to make it better.