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One volunteer: Alain Vastel, Engineer, BET ECIC, France

“You will get your shirt wet when you are involved in this kind of mission!”

“Surely the heat was high and your body needs a little time to adapt to it. But I didn’t encounter any major challenges,” Alain explained. He prefers to dwell on the positives. “I can’t get my mind off the smile and joy of the children, singing and dancing to greet us, and the hospitality of teachers who welcomed us with great simplicity and generosity.” As for the possibility of another Waterdrop mission, Alain said, “I would be ready to go any time, no matter the destination, and I highly recommend to all my colleagues to participate in this program.”

Short description of your / your company’s main area of work, your years in the industry, any awards or major projects or achievements you’d like to share.

Thermal installation audit primarily in the existing lodgings, expansion of the consulting file, implementing and monitoring the heating renovation, collective heating in the private residences and common leased areas, energy conversion, renewable energy for all the buildings from 30 to 600 residences and sometimes more.

How did you get to know about Waterdrop?

By Eric Garcera, our XYLEM contact

Why did you choose to participate?

Because this project combines an action for a noble cause, access to drinking water and a tourism discovery.

What did you expect to experience before the trip started? And what was your first impression when you finally arrived? How did you feel?

I was anxious to leave and to discover this type of mission in an unknown country. The Philippines seemed to me a quite varied country in full bloom.

Building water towers in elementary schools: Tell us a little bit about your experience – both building the towers and working with the children.

The organization that Watermark put in place is well-established, and installing the towers was no more difficult than assembling IKEA furniture. I didn’t participate directly in promoting awareness of hygiene rules among children (language problem)

What were the major challenges you encountered and overcame during the trip? (i.e., heat, sanitary conditions, tiredness, etc.)

No particular problems; some acclimatization time is required due to the heat…, and at any rate your shirt will get wet on this type of missions. The lodging conditions are very luxurious (a bit too much, to my taste). One feels really privileged.

What’s your single most valuable moment or experience from the trip?

The smile and the joy of the children. The participation of the teachers who greeted us simply and with a great deal of generosity.

How was the relationship building and teamwork with the other participants – both from your country and from the other countries?

Excellent, the group ambience, very friendly and healthy competition. The difficulties in communicating (for me, my English is truly mediocre), but this didn’t prevent us from working together well as a team.

Now that some time has passed since your Waterdrop volunteer trip, has anything changed in your life? What is your favourite memory?

Yes, the concrete awareness of the problem of access to drinking water in developing countries. What I’ll remember? A lot. I will remember the warm welcome in all the schools, the singing, children dancing, and the pain in my heart when I had to leave after the water ran out of the faucet.

Would you recommend this Volunteer Trips to your colleagues or do such a trip again?

Without hesitation, I’m ready to leave any time, whatever the destination. I strongly recommend to all my colleagues to take part in this activity.

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience that we didn’t ask?

Thanks very much for this beautiful experience; I wish you the best for your future activities to improve children’s living conditions.

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