Currently showing posts tagged Nicaragua

  • Sandra's Story

    Sandra is 25 years old. She was born in Masiguito, into a large family of 8. At the age of 13 she married her husband Martin. Martin is a respected community leader and a subsistence farmer who grows corn and beans on small plots of land near the village. They have two sons, ages 12 and 4. They live in a comfortable wooden house which Martin built for his family and his mother.

    Sandra is a member of the committee which organized and supervised the water project in Masiguito, that Blue Planet helped to finance, and she and all of her neighbors worked every day on the project during its construction, digging the ditches and laying the pipe from the spring to the houses. She continues as an active member of the committee, serving as treasurer and collecting a small sum each month from each family, to have a fund ready to pay for any needed repairs. Here is Sandra with her two children at a newly installed water spigot. (Photo courtesy of Blue Planet Run Foundation.)

    Prior to the water project, Sandra walked for 20 minutes downhill from her house to an open stream to collect water in a clay jug and carry it back on her shoulder. Her two sons accompanied her, carrying smaller water jugs. She reports that it took about 40 minutes to walk back uphill, not only because of the weight of the water on her shoulder but also because the children went more slowly. She made this trip several times every morning, and several times every afternoon. Since the project was completed, she has a spigot in her back yard which delivers clean water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She no longer spends 4 or 5 hours a day carrying water. Sandra has gone back to school, and now (2 years after the project) is in 2nd year of high school, studying on Saturdays at the Adult School in the village of La Calamidad, 4 kilometers away. She walks the 4 km each way every Saturday because she does not have money for the bus. But now she has time.

    She also has time to grow a few vegetables in the back yard near the spigot, protecting the plants from her flock of hens with wire and thorny branches. She also has time now for the activities of her church, a small Catholic chapel serving the two sectors of the community of Masiguito. She attends services, workshops, and special events at the church, which she was not able to do before.

    Sandra represented El Porvenir, and Blue Planet Run water projects, at the UN in New York in July of 2006.

    "Thanks to you, I am now able to go to school and educate myself."

  • Mrs. Flores' Story: In Search of Water

    Mrs. Maria Antonia Mendez Flores lives in Boaco Viejo, in the sector of July 19th. She is the mother of 7 children, three boys, all single and 4 girls, 2 of whom are married. She has lived in Boaco Viejo for 14 years. Before the water project, there was water close by to the house, but it was on private land owned by one of the land owners, and this man did not like to let them take this vital liquid, since he had cattle and that was his priority. What he did was to reduce the amount of water they could take. Normally, they carried 6 buckets of water on their heads over a distance of 1km. They used this water exclusively for drinking. For washing clothes, she had to go in search of water in the streams of the community, and sometimes walked up to 3km, since in the dry season, the streams dried up and it was not easy to encounter water. The children were left alone in the house, and the majority of the people had the same problem, and had no one to look after their kids. She only brought the newborn with her to carry water, since he needed more care and attention. (Photo courtesy of Blue Planet Run Foundation.)

    The activity of carrying water on one's head was carried out every day devotedly and the labour to leave the home to wash clothes was carried out every three days. In order to be able to go out to wash the family clothes, the day began at 4am, to prepare the food so that her husband could leave for work with some food in his belly and with a lunch in a container wrapped in some cloth, since she would not return from washing clothes until 5pm. The children were fed before she left, but the lunch was eaten cold. According to Maria Antonia, these small activities took a lot of time since just looking for the vital liquid consumed time to be able to carry out the other activities that she learned as a young single woman.

    Maria Antonia reflected that now with the construction of the water project that was completed with the help of El Porvenir in her sector, as well as the construction of the sanitary units (washing and bathing station), everything has changed. Now she can get up a little later without worrying if they will allow her to have the vital liquid, it is now just 80 meters away from her home. Now they take advantage of the time saved to do other activities. A year and a half ago, she installed a small store in her home to be able to help with the economic expenses in the home and in her free time, she takes care of the roses in her house. This is one of her favorite activitie because she loves the gardens when the roses are blooming and as well she invests time in making embroidered pieces like hankerchiefs or pillow cases. Most importantly, she considers that she has more time for her family, especially the care of her mother who is still full of life although she has osteoporosis. But in spite of all this, she considers that she has a more relaxed life, since she does not get up in the morning with the worry of going out to the river to wash clothes with the fear of being surprised by some animal or being a victim of lightning in the rainy season and now her husband and children eat their three hot meals a day when they have them (food).