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Rainforest Flow began its work in the village of Huacaria. Located at the foothills of the Andes, eight hours down a single-lane mountain road from the city of Cusco, Huacaria is home to three indigenous ethnic groups; the Matsigenka, Huachiperi, and Quechua.
When we arrived in Huacaria in 2003, the villagers — from infants to elders — suffered from frequent gastrointestinal illnesses, parasites, anemia, malnutrition, and skin diseases from bathing and drinking contaminated water. At the time, the village had a tap water system that delivered contaminated drinking water to village homes. The school had a rustic latrine that dumped waste near the school playground.
Huacaria is where Rainforest Flow tested and piloted our proprietary slow sand filtration water purification systems. We overhauled the village water system and built our first eco-friendly bathrooms and sturdy home sinks. We also partnered with local health agencies and school teachers to develop an integrated culturally appropriate health education program.
Given its relative accessibility, Huacaria serves as Rainforest Flow’s Teaching Annex for experiential learning for indigenous leaders, government representatives, health and WASH professionals, and students,