Olman Andrades, 33 years old, posses this very dream. Olman, his wife, Heydy, and their 5-year old son, Josting, live in a humble, red house in the community of El Chaparral. Olman has lived in El Chaparral for 8 years, and he currently serves as the Treasurer of the community’s Water Systems Management Committee. He is very involved in his community, and he is a dedicated father and husband. He and his family manage a small venta, or store, in the front of their house where they sell fruits and other produce goods. “He is quite the businessman. Maybe one day he will be a candidate for the Microcredit Loan Program,” Grant, Amigos Community Advocate, dreams aloud.
On one beautiful, hot Tuesday afternoon, Olman takes a break from helping build a new community church, lays down his tools, and pulls a block into the shade to sit on as he tells a bit of his story. His pride and excitement for his community is evident as he explains how 57 families, 227 people, in the community have come together, uniting three sectors, to work toward the initiatives of Plan 7. One worry before beginning the project was conflict between sectors, but everyone has united beautifully. The community’s vision is evident, as El Chaparral has been one of the fastest communities to dig their water system, despite the construction taking place during the hottest months of the year.
Olman humbly explains his family’s current situation regarding access to clean water. They have a well that is very close to their home, but he states that the well water is contaminated. In an attempt to purify the water, his wife dilutes it with Clorox before the family drinks it. Olman shrugs his shoulders and says that he knows this probably is not healthy. He continues and says that the family frequently experiences stomach aches and pains. Although his family has never been tested for intestinal parasites, he has suspicions that they would test positive.
When asked about his dreams for Josting and generations to come, Olman’s hopeful smile only widens. He proudly states that Josting attends preschool, and he is very smart. He loves learning about numbers, and he is practicing writing his own name. Olman’s hand moves to a prominent scar on his own forehead, and then to a smaller scar between his eyes. He explains that when he was a child, he fell and cut his head on the rocky ground. How did he lose his balance? He was making the long, hot trip back to his home, balancing and carrying a bucket of…. Water. Throughout his entire 33 years of life, his primary worry and concern has been finding and obtaining water. Olman appears lost in his memory. Gazing ahead, looking toward the future, he smiles with the realization. He says, “My son will never have this scar. He will never have to carry water.” All he will have to do is turn it on.