Before the first rays of sunlight fill the sky, Dominga has already put miles between her and her tiny village of Los Angeles in rural Nicaragua. Her legs and ankles ache fiercely from arthritis, but dutifully, she pushes through her pain. She has no choice. Her children’s survival depends on what she brings back from this journey.
In many ways, their survival also depends on what she doesn’t bring back.
You see, unlike here in the United States, Dominga doesn’t have access to a kitchen faucet or a corner store where she can find readily-available clean water for her family. For her, the closest water source is a heavily trafficked stream several villages away.
Hundreds of trucks and cars pass through this stream bed on a weekly basis, leaving behind oil, antifreeze and other chemicals. Cattle and sheep wade through it and defecate in it. When it rains, the runoff from local farms adds pesticides and fertilizer to the mix.
The result is a polluted stream, a breeding ground for disease and water-borne parasites, which is unfit for human consumption. Every time Dominga’s children raise a glass of it to their mouths, they risk contracting an illness that could take their lives.
In fact, 4,438 Nicaraguan children die every year to diseases like cholera and typhoid they contract from water just like this.
Fortunately, hope is on the way.
Esperanca has a unique opportunity to correct this situation – to pipe clean, fresh water sourced from a pure subterranean spring to everyone’s home in Los Angeles.
All of the trench digging, pipe laying, construction of the valve boxes and the valve stations will be done through our careful oversight and by the families who will benefit from this new water system. This system is projected to last over 20 years and provide each household with more than 18 gallons of fresh water per day. Because each family has a hand in its construction, they will also have the knowledge needed to maintain it, and make sure it stays in good working order long after we leave.
Dominga is excited to get started. She’s become a leader in her village, making sure everyone commits to participating in this life-saving endeavor. She tells us “This will take all of us. It will not only change our lives, but those of our children and our children’s children!”