In 2022, we partnered with the community of Bilampi to build a fully distributed water system that brought water to every home. Children and their families no longer need to walk for water at home or at a school. This year we plan to finish building a new school for this community. Community members are eager and excited to finish the schoolhouse they have been dreaming of for years. We would like thank The Kathryn B. McQuade Foundation for their support in building this school. We’ve also just learned that, thanks to the new facilities, 3 new grades will be added to the curriculum, so that children in the community can now study through the 3rd year of secondary school. This expanded opportunity is huge, particularly for young girls whose parents thought it unsafe to send them to the neighboring community to continue their studies.
We broke ground on this new water project in April 2022. The community mobilized quickly and has already finished the fresh-water spring capture, the main conduction line to the water tank, building the tank, and most of the trenching to the homes, community church, and school. The team on the ground is currently building metal structures for the water meters and painting the tank the traditional Nicaragua blue. They will then move on to dig the final 3 kilometers of trench for the distribution system, install water meters and build latrines. Weather permitting, they should finish the water and latrine installation by the very beginning of 2023. We are so grateful to The Burdine Johnson Foundation for their sustaining support of clean water for these rural communities.
Next up is a school for this community.
We are excited to have broken ground on a water and latrine project in the community of Mancera Central, returning to that community after collaborating to build a new school building in 2019. As its name suggests, it is the center of a group of smaller villages, with a high school and a health clinic that serves all of those surrounding villages. In these rural communities, high school occurs every Saturday and students take their homework for the rest of the week, to complete after they finish their chores. Going to high school is quite a commitment, walking or riding a horse for hours from the smaller villages to get to school. It was eye-opening and heart-warming to see the influx of teens that Saturday of our visit. Many of the girls were accompanied by moms or older brothers, for safety. It takes at least 5 years for them to graduate from high school, going only once a week as they do.
In 2019 the community mobilized to build a new school to serve as the primary school during the week, and the high school on Saturdays, just as they are now mobilizing to build a water system to provide safe drinking water for their families. It was the fastest school we’ve seen come together and that energy is continuing on the water project.
We are so very grateful for the support of The Burdine Johnson Foundation for financially supporting the Mancera Central water project. Their sustaining support over the years has brought safe water to hundreds of families.
We are also grateful and thrilled to report winning our second Rotary International Global Grant! This grant will pay for the water and latrine project in the community of Bilampi, which we will break ground on in early summer 2021. We’re excited to share an interview, below, of KC Cerny, the driving force behind these complex grant applications. In designing this system, our water engineer reported this community having the worst water quality he had ever seen. The families in Bilampi cannot wait to get started. They should have clean water in their homes by the end of the year!
And, in between these 2 water projects, we will collaborate in the community of Malakawas to build a new school, after finishing a water project there last year. In our survey work leading up to commencing this project, we’ve seen the highest level of adult continuing education of all of the communities we’ve worked in previously. It is great to see parents just as eager to continue their education as the children, and they cannot wait to have a new school building in which to study.
Your support makes all these projects possible. We invite you to one of our upcoming ‘Crash Courses’ to learn more about 2021 projects and the communities where we’ve put your investment to work. I hope to see you there and bring a friend or two to help us spread the word. It would be a huge gift.
Clean water is flowing in Mancera, Nicaragua. The forty families in this small community have been working since December to harness a high elevation spring to bring water to their homes.
They’ve finished the spring capture process and clean water is flowing downhill through pipes they are currently working to bury in a 2-mile trench to the site of a future storage tank. Once that first section of the main conduction line is complete, they can start building the 45,000-gallon storage tank that will provide water to their homes.
This is back-breaking work and this particular spring capture was more difficult than average. Sometimes the springs are easily accessible and not located far from the community they will serve, but in Mancera, the spring is two miles up a formidable mountain accessible only via narrow trails. All the cement, sand, gravel, and pvc had to be carried on horses, mules, and by hand in the hot sun and, sometimes simultaneously, through deep mud.
I’m continually amazed at the persistence and sheer physical fortitude of the communities we work with. They spend month after month carrying supplies, digging trenches by hand, and laboring in challenging conditions to get water to their families. This project is slated to be complete by August of 2021.
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