“Your kidneys are like a colander that you use for pasta. BUT, instead of noodles, your kidneys are catching and cleaning all the stuff in your blood and your insides to keep you healthy.”
This is how our complex kidney filtration system is explained by Amigos Community Advocates to a class of community members in La Picota. Receiving clean water and a modern bathroom doesn’t just make kidney disease miraculously disappear. In a country plagued by water scarcity, lack of access to a safe bathroom, and poor water drinking habits, Amigos Community Advocates face their biggest hurdle in decreasing kidney disease – changing habits.
Marbely’s team sits under a big shady tree, gathering urine samples from each family present. Today, urine density is being tested in order to see how much water people are drinking. Why? The habit to drink enough water is NOT ingrained in people in Nicaragua, resulting in a population that suffers from chronic dehydration. Why would it be? A soda or a boiled water cup of coffee with sugar is a much “cleaner” alternative to water from a contaminated well.
In order to change habits, people need to understand the why – the connection between drinking enough water and adequately flushing out their “colanders,” or kidneys. To educate and explain, Community Advocates use videos, visuals, raffles of fresh fruit, and density tests for each person at the charla, or mini class. The main focus of the class is simple – Drink More Water.
“Help the colander have time to filter out all the bad and not become overwhelmed.”
“Think of a colander overflowing with pasta because the old, dried pasta wasn’t cleaned out from its last use.”
These are the visual examples that Amigos Advocates use to make their point!
It might seem simple, but changing habits is the HARDEST part of the Advocates’ jobs. Humans are creatures of habit. We all know this. For example, recent studies into childhood obesity identify that decreasing salt consumption and increasing water intake could significantly improve the problem. So why does childhood obesity continue to plague so many children in the United States today? It’s simple. Habit change is HARD.
The solution for childhood obesity and kidney disease might just be the same. We need to drink more water!
Although the solution is simple, resistance to this advice is the first and greatest obstacle, both in Nicaragua and in the USA. It is recommended to drink 2-3 liters of water a day in the USA. That is 60-90 ounces. In Nicaragua, the recommended amount is greater!
Amigos is committed to equipping each family member with the knowledge and tools needed to make healthy changes so that kidney disease will not continue to be the #1 cause of death in Nicaragua. From raffles to games to videos to simple colander examples, we want every single person to choose health.
Isn’t it amazing how simple and clear that God made this for us?
On DAY ONE God created water!
Genesis 1:2 says, “Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.“
Water is LIFE. “Drink more water,” the Advocates continue to tell each person. It is the way to transformative health, and it has been clearly a part of life since Day One.