Access to Water in Honduras for the First Time!

Post a Comment » Written on March 16th, 2015     
Filed under: Community Development
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unnamedWith your support of the CWR water project in Honduras with Water 1st, 18 communities in the mountainous Lempira region now have water and toilets for the very first time. Clean water is being piped directly to every single home, ending the walk for water. Another 11 projects serving an additional 17 rural communities, schools, and towns are currently under construction.

 

unnamed (1)In El Portillo el Paraiso, Presbitera Membreño, an amazing 75-year-old woman (see photo), worked alongside the younger men of the community to build the project. Even though older people and single mothers are not required to participate in project construction, Presbitera was eager to have water at her home, and wanted to do her part to ensure the project was successful. She helped by carrying water (for making concrete), and preparing and carrying food to the men at the worksites several miles from her home. When we asked this mother of seven and grandmother of 21 if there is anything new that she’s able to do now that she has water at her home, she said, “I have a beautiful vegetable garden and I have flowers.” And, she added with a laugh, “I also have time to rest!”

The water and sanitation project ribbon-cutting ceremonies include songs, skits, speeches, and poetry from community members and local government representatives, along with a big potluck meal.

 

unnamed (2)The ceremony concludes with an official ‘handing-over’ of the project — to be operated and managed by the community. Community members who are elected as the water board sign an official agreement and promise to uphold the official regulations of the system, including maintaining the system and collecting user fees.

 

 

unnamed (5)Our local Honduras partner, COCEPRADIL, is very skilled at managing large construction projects with labor provided entirely by community members. The people are organized into groups that work two days each week. Every household is required to contribute the same amount of labor. Contributions are meticulously tracked, and when the project is completed, the value of the labor is calculated so that the community knows the full monetary worth of their water system and toilets.

 

unnamed (6)The people of Jagua shared with us how they feel about their project under construction. Doña Filomena (below, in blue dress) kept saying over and over again, “I am so happy!”

 

These projects are about awakening hope and a sense of strength in these communities. It can be hard to maintain those mental perspectives when one is very poor and constantly encountering obstacles and setbacks. Seventy-year-old Leon Rodriguez told us that at the beginning of the project, after they had worked hard to prepare the spring site for construction, they returned the next day to see that overnight rains had caused a landslide and all the work they had done needed to be repeated. They were crushed, but they didn’t give up. He told us, “We had to be organized and have courage to get to where we are now.” Nurturing this level of faith and confidence are at the heart of what we and our partner, COCEPRADIL, hope to accomplish.

–This CWR project is in partnership with Water 1st. This content originally appeared in their email newsletter.

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