Palo Grande Community, Haiti
The Palo Grande community in western Nicaragua is home to 126 residents. For years, the residents fought against the oppressive hand of the water crisis, relying primarily on dilapidated well for their water supply. The community members knew the well contained harmful bacteria, so they attempted to avoid it by purchasing water from local vendors. However, this proved too expensive to be a long-term solution for the Palo Grande community. Despite attempts to refrain from using the old well, the residents had nowhere else to turn. As they continued to use the well, residents became sick with waterborne illness like cholera and severe diarrhea.
To make matters worse, most adults in the community work as agricultural laborers and spent long hours away from home in the fields. Since the adults were unable to afford to miss a day’s worth of wages, children were tasked with gathering water. They hauled heavy containers of contaminated water from the well or walked long distances to other sources. It was an exhausting chore that often made students late for class or miss school altogether, putting their futures at risk for the sake of water.
Residents knew that a safe and easily accessible water source would change the trajectory of their lives, allowing children the space to be kids and freeing community members from sickness. So, they sought outside help.
Our staff visited the remote community and found that the residents desperately needed a safe water source. They were also ready to care for a water system, so the staff announced the revitalization of their old well! The staff installed piping, a sanitary seal, and a hand pump. Because of your gift, the resident finally had restored water just outside their homes!
Our team also helped the Palo Grande community establish sustainability practices to help ensure a future of safe water access. They guided the community in creating a water committee to oversee the care and maintenance of the well. This committee will collect a voluntary fee for water usage to save for future repairs.
A sanitation and hygiene promotion activity for residents. This interactive series of lessons was designed to engage the children and their parents so they could gain a better understanding of how the new well and the safe water you gave them could improve their health.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Roseling Pamela Zeron Espinales is an 18-year-old student in Palo Grande. She shared her experience as a young community member: “Lately the water [from our well] came out dark with mud and smelled bad. We assumed that the pipes were dirty.”
Roseling and her neighbors are hopeful for the future of their community. She said, “We love that the staff studied our water and chlorinated it. We have hope that we can to continue to drink safe and clean water without a bad smell.” Roseling and the rest of the Palo Grande community members can have confidence that the water from their revitalized well will never make them sick.