Wednesday, March 14, 2012

H2O for Life Celebrates World Water Week with stories from the field!

Next Thursday, March 22, please celebrate World Water Day with H2O for Life. For the past 5 years, H2O for Life has partnered with implementing partner, El Porvenir, in Nicaragua.  Rob Bell, the country director has been a pleasure to work with.  Several years ago, Patty Hall and Diane Klett, from Highview Middle School, MN signed on for a volunteer work trip through El Porvenir.  It was a trip of a lifetime.  We helped build a wash project for a community near San Lorenzo.  The structure provided a private bathing area, a place to wash clothes and access to clean water.  While visiting, we visited several H2O for Life school projects and were delighted to witness the difference that water and toilets make for a school.  Water changes everything!  If you are looking for a great experience for your school, your family or for you- check out El Porvenir.  Rob and the guides that were with us on the jouney were top notch.  We spent 6 days in the local community and then had a few days to see the volcanos and the rain forest areas.  Experiencing a zipline though the trees among the howler monkeys was an unforgettable moment.

If you haven't chosen a school partner through H2O for Life, NOW IS THE TIME!  There is plenty of time to learn about the global water crisis, and help a school that is in need of water.  Celebrate World Water Day by making a commitment to help!

Rob and his on the ground team in Nicaragua provided a look at the story of one young girl attending an H2O for Life partner school. 
Escuela Jose Marti, Nicaragua

H2O for Life and El Porvenir work in collaboration to provide WASH in Schools projects to schools in Nicaragua. Rob Bell and his team provided information about the impact of WASH on one local student from a school.

Escuela Jose Marti is located in the Camoapa area of Nicaragua in the town of Salgado. The school was built in 2000 by the government. It is one large room that is divided into two by a wooden wall. The school is concrete with a tiled floor and tin roof. It is blue and white and has shuttered windows that allow for ventilation during classes. The government also drilled a well for the school and built 2 latrines, however, they deteriorated and the well was no longer working. The community has committed to maintain the well and learn to take care of the latrines.

Raquel del Carmen Romero Garcia is fifteen. She has four siblings and lives with her mother, father and four siblings. She lives in a humble home made of wood with a tin roof and a dirt floor. There is a living room, kitchen and one bedroom. Her daily diet consists of beans and rice and once in a while, chicken. When fruits are in season, they add oranges, mango, guava and sweet lemons to their list of foods. The surrounding area is hilly with steep slopes. Raquel lives 5 km from Escuela Jose Marti.

Raquel relates that she has studied all her life in Escuela Jose Marti. She studies hard and says that mathematics is her most difficult class. She must walk an hour to and from school. She had to stop attending school for two years when her family had to move into the bush due to her father’s work.

When El Porvenir came to the village all the community was asked to help. Raquel tells us that her father contributed two work days per week until the well was completed.

Raquel tells us that when the well was not working, she had to go ask nearby homes to provide water. Sometimes the families had no water to give and the children went without until the end of the day. She said that by the time she returned home she was exhausted.

There was a watering hole nearby, but the water was not potable. The children carried the dirty water to the school to clean the school each day.

Today Escuela Jose Marti has a new well and new latrines. Here is what Raquel had to say:

“To have water is to have life, because without water, we cannot live, because we need it to carry out all our daily activities. Having the water closer makes me very happy because one of my duties is to clean the school every Friday and having access to water means I can participate more effectively in that activity.”

She also said;

“El Porvenir has helped a lot because the projects they develop benefit the environment; take care of the water and especially the health of the people.”

Raquel expresses that she listens to the El Porvenir radio program every Wednesday morning and from that has learned many things about personal, family and community hygiene. The project has been in place for 2 years now in the school and the community commitment is to maintain the well area, water the plants and trees in the school (so it looks nice around the well) and to be careful in the use of the rope pump so it lasts a long time. The parents have been maintaining the well.

Raquel’s opinion is that the money that was donated by H2O for Life and El Porvenir to this project was well invested and the construction of the well is very important. Also the latrines and washing and bathing station are very important, especially in the schools because that is the medium for teaching and changing habits and customs.

Raquel ended by saying, “As a student, I feel happy to be able to go to school every day, because I can learn something new and different every day.”

The well at Jose Marti

                                                  Building a Wash station on a volunteer trip

Students from Nicaragua

No comments:

Post a Comment