Site Updated  February 3, 2016

​H20 Open Doors & BACCA April 2016 Expedition

Solar Water Purification (SunSpring) System installation

Abstract: Supply and install a 5000 gal per day solar powered water filtration delivery system for the Candido Gonzalez Morales Agricultural Cooperative in  CDR, No. 3. Zona 12, Corcovado, Pilon, Granma Province, to provide clean drinking water to community, In Corcovado, Granma Province, Cuba.  Installation of Solar Technology, Equipment, and Training

Purpose:   During the week of April 8-15, 2016, 40 members and friends of a Rotary Club from the San Francisco Bay Area of California along with Bay Area Cuba Community Alliance, will travel to Cuba with a collaborative project known as H2OpenDoors. The project at its core, would provide the communities of Corcovado and Nuevo Mundo with solar-powered water purification technology designed to produce over 5,000 gallons of safe drinking water daily. The system is intended to improve access to safe water for residents in the rural villages of Corcovado, Nuevo Mundo, and the outlying areas. Over the past three years H2OpenDoors has provided this technology to villages and schools in Guatemala, Mexico, Thailand, Philippines, Haiti, and Nepal. The members of the April, 2016 trip will also learn about other cooperatives in rural Cuba which might benefit from such H2OpenDoors support while experiencing the culture, music, and arts of Cuba.

Background:  This project initiative grew out of an April, 2015 presentation given by Paul Basker, Director of Bay Area Cuba Community Alliance (BACCA) to the Rotary Club of Terra Linda in San Rafael, California. The presentation highlighted a prototype water project in Cuba which the Rotary Club has been supporting. Jon Kaufman of H2OpenDoors observed the presentation and generously offered to participate by donating a Sunspring Water Purification unit for the project being proposed herein. Bay Area Cuba Community Alliance has been sponsoring educational and humanitarian visits to Cuba since spring of 2013. Through these trips BACCA has been able to raise funds to support the rural Cuban communities of Corcovado and Nuevo Mundo, outside of Pilon, Granma and has happily agreed to collaborate with H2OpenDoors to bring their Sunspring Water Purification System to Cuba. The April, 2016 trip to deliver this system would be the first installation of a SunSpring system in Cuba.

Copyright 2013. Bay Area Cuba Community Alliance. All Rights Reserved.

Context:  Humberto Castillo Torres, Presidente de la Cooperativa, “Candido Gonzalez Morales”, Cuba’s Farm Co-op, CDR No. 3. Zona 12, has an important role to play in the Corcovado and Nuevo Mundo area. The local farmers are represented collectively by their member-­‐owned organization ANAP (National Association of Small Farmers).

Opportunity: To work together with the representatives of the local Cuban community to develop a thorough understanding of the water filtration equipment and to implement further training to empower the Cuban farm co-­‐operatives to: a) Maintain a fully functional water filtration system.  b) Provide educational information on how to expand the distribution of the purified water. c) Have the maintenance and distribution paid for by the sales of clean drinking water (if desired by the cooperative).

Advisory: International Advisory Team: Jon Kaufman, Jack Baker, Fire Chief Hack Clemmensen, Bob Schwartz, Nina Rose Basker, Paul Basker, Felix Torres Chaviano

Team: Jon Kaufman, Jack Baker, Paul Basker, Felix Torres Chaviano, Fire Chief Hank Clemmensen

Method: Installation of equipment and implementation of training seminars with Cuban Farm Cooperative representatives. Having an equipment manufacturer speak directly with cooperative representatives. Train the representatives in maintenance of water filtration system and establish Index Benchmarking Progress and Evaluation. Full Cuban ownership of training model, materials, and equipment.

Funding: H2OpenDoors has raised over $30,000 for the SunSpring System, and another $20,000 for the travel, accommodations, meals, and ground transportation for the expedition of 40. Another $10,000 has been set aside in the H2OpenDoors fund for follow-up visits to Cuba which will include additional site surveys, training, and meetings regarding the provision of safe water for rural residents directly related to this initial expedition.

Advisory Board:

Jon Kaufman is the Director of H2OpenDoors, a Rotary Cub Project. He has observed people that must purchase safe drinking water in bottles, sold in large part by multinational corporations, spending up to one-third of their daily income. We consider that access to water and air is a human right, and seek to provide safe drinking water to the poor through purification systems that are simple to maintain and robust in their output. Jon’s joint venture partner in Mexico is former Mexican President Vicente Fox. Together with Mr. Fox’s Vamos Mexico Foundation, H2OpenDoors will be installing dozens of systems for the underserved communities throughout Latin America over the next several years. As a member of Rotary, Mr. Kaufman is part of an international service organization with more than 34,000 clubs and over 110 years of experience in providing support for projects that help the underserved and vulnerable:

Jack Barker is the President of Innovative Water Technologies and inventor of the SunSpring system. Jack will be helping Jon install the system, and provide training to a local staff within the Cuban Farming Cooperative on monthly maintenance procedures. Jack’s company specializes in public drinking water systems. The SunSpring is just one product of their factory in Colorado, and is installed in more than 250 locations in over 20 countries:

Fire Chief Hank Clemmensen is immediate past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Chief Clemmensen is coming on the trip as Jon Kaufman’s guest to provide technical advice and consultation to the local communities related to water management, safety and fire control:

Bob Schwartz is the Executive Director, Global Health Partners: Bob Schwartz has more than 30 years of experience building U.S. support for Central American economic and social development programs, primarily focusing on public health. He has generated more than $130 million in medicines and medical equipment for public health facilities in Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico, Haiti and El Salvador. He was a Senior Communications Advisor to Fr. Miguel d’Escoto, the President of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly, and is currently developing an international communications program for Fr. d’Escoto’s Climate Change and UN reform initiatives. Schwartz has initiated and led 30 exchange visits by surgeons from leading U.S. institutions and organizations, including Stanford University, Texas Children’s Hospital, Interplast, International Volunteers in Urology and the University of Southern California. He has also coordinated humanitarian programs for Muhammad Ali, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and two former U.S. Surgeons General. For the 13 years Schwartz was a Producer for Dan Rather (CBS News/60 Minutes, Dan Rather Reports/AXS TV).Executive Director of Disarm/Global Health Partners, Bob is helping guide Bay Area Cuba Community Alliance and H2o Open Doors to work with both the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC and with the US Department of Commerce in order to export the water purifications equipment from the USA to Cuba.

Humberto Castillo Torres is the Presidente de la Cooperativa “Candido Gonzalez Morales”. CDR No. 3. Zona 12, Nuevo Mundo, Corcovado. Humberto Castillo Torres and Felix Torres Chaviano, director of BACCA,  have been working together to bring to fruition several cooperative initiatives that will serve to empower Cuban agriculturalists in this special region, and demonstrate what significance their knowledge holds to foreigners and Cubans alike, in a day and age when our human connection to the land and its resources is becoming increasingly detached.  Cuba is undergoing a new chapter of economic growth.

Niover Lazaro Rubio Rivero is a BACCA Community Liaison as well as the Delegate of the Colonies of Corcovado, Las Vispas, and Nuevo Mundo:

Nina Rose Basker & Felix Torres Chaviano are the founders and co-directors of Bay Area Cuba Community Alliance. Felix’s extended family has lived in the Nuevo Mundo area for almost two centuries. Felix was born and raised in Havana but moved to Nuevo Mundo in 1997 where he lived for almost a decade. During this time he began planting the seeds for a long-term cultural, arts & ecology based community project and developed the first mini-library for the community in his home. Felix has lived in the United States now for almost 10 years, and has continued to be directly involved in the development and support of the Nuevo Mundo and Corcovado community since his departure from Cuba in 2005. Felix and his wife, Nina have since founded BACCA and support the empowerment of these communities through collaboration with the local agricultural cooperative to improve and sustain basic infrastructure, organic farming practices, the implementation and installation of sustainable and appropriate technology such as solar energy and Super Adobe Earth Bag Construction, as well as artistic and cultural development projects.

Paul Basker a general contractor for 40 plus years, serves on the Board of Directors as International Project Chair Person for the Rotary Club of Marin Sunrise, and as well as serves on the Board of Bay Are Cuba Community Alliance. Mr. Basker Lived and studied in Cuba from 1962 through 1971. Since 2001 he has been involved in developing educational trips to Cuba to educate local Rotarians about the history of Cuba and how they may contribute in a humanitarian way to the benefit of the Cuban People. He is providing technical support for construction and implementation of the proposed and coordinate, organize, obtain the permissions needed for the trip and service work slated for April, 2016. Over the last two years Mr. Basker has worked with Alexander Rodriguez, Second Secretary at the Cuban Interest Section in Washington, DC to lay the ground work for this project.

Overview of current goals for BACCA

The Nuevo Mundo/Corcovado Project:
Our mission is to provide assistance to isolated communities in rural Southeast Cuba. We support the collaborative implementation of local, sustainable, community-lead projects. We host licensed educational tours for US citizens for hands-on volunteer work & cultural exchange in Cuba and support sustainable economic, agricultural, and environmental development. BACCA is especially interested in empowering women and youth through Arts and Education, and fostering economic growth by supporting sustainable local micro businesses. Our organization focuses on collaboration with the community to improve local basic infrastructure such as potable water, solar energy, irrigation, and appropriate building technologies. We value the preservation and perpetuation of cultural heritage and the arts. We’ve begun collaboration with the local agricultural cooperative in the Corcovado/Nuevo Mundo area in working towards these current goals. We are currently working on the installation of a solar pump/filtration system for 2,500 gallon Super Adobe cistern in Nuevo Mundo (on private land) but, water will be available to the larger farming community once installation is complete. Felix Torres and Nina Basker of BACCA, are also working to repair and deepen an existing well, install a solar pump and a water distribution system for irrigation and domestic use for the immediate and surrounding small family farms and local cooperative. The goal is to establish a productive, year-round organic farm in Nuevo Mundo as well as a small cooperatively owned and community run eco-retreat The three main goals that we have collectively established with the local community and cooperative are:

Utilize Super Adobe Earth Bag Technology
Water Works Infrastructure
Organic Sustainable Agricultural Development and Green Energy, such as Biogas and Solar Power.

Our long-term objective is to establish a small family run eco-tourism visitor center in Nuevo Mundo. Among the realization of myriad goals, the implementation of this center will enable us to collaborate with these communities to help preserve the land and natural resources while bringing beneficial and necessary financial capital to the area.  Traditional and less conservation-based tourism could potentially leach the area of its natural resources and quickly impact the rich flora and fauna, as well as the social framework that makes this region so special. We believe that financial capital and economic growth are possible through sustainable, culturally responsible means such as ecotourism. Ultimately, our intention is to provide the families in these communities with the resources that will allow them to create self-sustaining economic and ecological futures for themselves and their children without compromising the fabric of their community or the wellbeing of their lands.