Carmen has lived in the community of La Palma since her family moved there when she was 6 years old. She grew up in La Palma, and she got married when she was 18 years old. Carmen and her husband Denis have 4 adult children, but they all live far away from La Palma. One of Carmen’s children moved to another country in search of a better life and left her two daughters with their grandparents in La Palma.
Poverty goes beyond just income level. It is also reflected in access to education, drinking water, food, and health. In the world, 3 out of 10 people lack access to safe drinking water services. Climate change jeopardizes the progress of the last 50 years in development, health, and poverty reduction.
Since her childhood, Carmen has known that water is essential to “survive,” but she did not always understand why the water she consumed made her sick with stomach aches, diarrhea and constant fevers.
For Carmen, “Being sick was normal because all the children in my community went through the same thing.” Carmen remembers that she and her family traveled every three days to the community well to stock up on water. This was the activity which no member of the household could miss because each one had the responsibility of filling and carrying a container.
“Getting water out of the well is very hard. We must do it with buckets on our heads, or by riding horses or by bicycle.”Carmen
Even though the family has a shallow well, during times of drought, it dries up, and they must go back to the community well to get water. That well is about 100M from their home, and they make several trips a day, back and forth, to bring water that they keep in two clay pots in their kitchen.
A year ago, her youngest granddaughter, Linda, had a sick stomach. The closest hospital is 8 km from the community. They spent money to find out that her daughter had an intestinal parasite called Helicobacter Pylori. The doctors told her that it was caused by drinking contaminated water.
Carmen is part of the CAPS leadership committee, and she has played a significant role in projecting her community’s vision and encouraging participation in the project.
Carmen and her family wanted to participate in the water project to be able to improve their health, but they also want the best for their own community. They want to be the inspiration for others to seek a better life. Carmen and other families had the opportunity to see how other communities have changed their lives with the benefit of clean running water, and they want to experience the same transformation.
“Learning how to take care of the system would help our leadership to know how to take care of the project. Smooth and competent administration will help make our project sustainable,” she says.
Now the community is in the process of digging ditches. This year, the family will receive clean running water, health testing, and a modern bathroom as part of our community development approach.
Carmen affirms that the most meaningful change that the water project will bring to her life will be the transformation of their health. “My granddaughter Linda will no longer get sick like she did drinking water from the well. The joy we already feel when we see people of my community going to work digging ditches for our water system is so good.”