WHEN PASTOR EDDY saw a problem in his community, he put his entrepreneurial mind to work to fix it. In his city of Bayaguana, the third-poorest city in the Dominican Republic, people had no access to clean water. The only water available to them was unfiltered, undrinkable water contaminated with parasites. The people of Bayaguana had two alternatives: buy significantly overpriced clean water from outside companies looking to make money off the plight of their community, or drink water from the city water truck and risk cross-contamination due to lack of hygiene practices. The high incidence of sickness and disease was putting the entire city in danger, and the local medical clinic didn’t have resources to provide adequate care.
Pastor Eddy knew he had to find a better way. He received a small, donated water system, accessed a borehole well, and began filtering and selling clean water at a price families could afford. “I was shocked by the suspicion and fear I encountered at first,” Pastor Eddy says. “When people learned that the water system was drawing water from beneath the earth, they refused to drink it, assuming the water must be contaminated with waste. So I began an educational campaign to help people understand that this water was actually coming from a safe source and was being made clean by the filtration system.” Eventually, people came around and realized the water was safe to drink and would not make them sick.
Pastor Eddy’s water system started to gain momentum, and before he knew it, he couldn’t keep up with demand. Instead of raising prices, he figured out how to increase supply. He had to build a higher-capacity system and move into a larger facility—all while keeping costs low for his neighbors. When things got hard or tricky, he kept innovating and devising new ways to solve complicated problems. This business is not a personal income-growth generator for Pastor Eddy. All proceeds go back into maintaining and growing the business, and the church uses any surplus to fund other community development efforts. Pastor Eddy is providing a much-needed service to his community in an honest way and with a generous heart. He has helped industrious people in his community buy their own delivery trucks so that they can sell water and make a living, as well. T
oday, Pastor Eddy’s filtered water is recognized by the health ministry of the Dominican Republic as the standard for clean drinking water. This designation allows him to set the market price, and he uses that leverage to keep the water in his community at the lowest price possible, which in turn brings down the price of water all across the city. “God entrusted us with a water ministry,” he says, “for the benefit of His people, not a bottom line.” Pastor Eddy’s newest two-story water- filtration plant is paid for, free and clear. He now employs 15 people and has contracted six independent drivers who drive their own distribution buses, bringing clean, affordable water— and hope—to their communities.