For two weeks Lloydminster native Susan Drever offered up her knowledge and labour to build water filtration boxes, provide eyeglasses and fix bicycles in El Salvador.

It was an experience she said shone light on the plight of some parts of the world.


“There is more to do,” said Drever. “We have a lot in Canada and we need to share and do more for others.”

Drever spent two weeks in November last year in the South American nation working with Samaritan’s Purse.

“The main focus of the trip was to spend time installing and testing water filtration systems in homes,” said Drever. “We also did a one day bicycle repair clinic and five days of eyeglass testing and prescribing.”

They lived inside a compound, which was fenced off, but during the day they would either construct the water filtration devices or leave the compound to work the bicycle repair clinics or the eyeglass clinics.

Drever said thousands have been helped by the filtration system, which is a concrete box and people pour water into it and after the water passes through layers of rocks, gravel and sand to be purified.

For Drever the journey to El Salvador really started a few years ago when she was certified in eyeglasses and went on a mission trip through Southridge Community Church.

“I saw the need out there and I really wanted to pay it forward,” said Drever. “I’ve been very bless with my family and health, material goods and the roof over my head and some of these people have nothing. It’s really nice to be able to do something.”

Drever said during her two-week stay the group she was with built between 80 and 100 filtration boxes. It costs roughly $120 to build a water filtration system.

Once the filtration systems are installed the organization does 30, 60, 90-day and one year inspections to make sure it works.

During her stay Drever and the rest of the women in her group slept indoors, in an air-conditioned building while the men slept in a shipping crate. Though Drever did say the air-conditioning was set to 28 degrees Celsius, and didn’t turn on much.

Drever also did one day of bicycle repair, which can be the primary mode of transportation for many El Salvadorians, thus the necessity of having a functional bike.

In the eyeglass clinic Drever said they would get very long lineups and have to test people’s eyesight for distance and close. Though the testing was fairly primitive when compared to going to the optometrist in Canada, it was effective in providing proper eyewear for people.

“The eyeglass clinic was very rewarding,” said Drever. “We do very basic testing and some of them haven’t been able to read for years and they are very pleased when we could give them a pair of reading glasses.”

Typically the group would set up in a church or school for the eyeglass clinics.

The eyeglasses supplied to Samaritan’s Purse are collected from Lion’s Club donation boxes, which can be found in communities throughout the country.