Imagine having to defecate in a plastic bag! This is the only option for many residents in San Raymundo II, a coastal Ecuadorian village rising from the dust of a drained swamp and struggling to become a community. This project will bring bathroom facilities to about 100 families in total, creating a much cleaner, healthier environment for all. Only $275 per bathroom will give residents a proper toilet which provides them with improved hygiene and restored dignity. No more pooping in bags!
Many residents barely make enough to feed themselves, earning $5-$10 daily. The pandemic has plunged them even deeper into poverty and despair. Focusing on daily survival, the goal of having a proper toilet is far beyond their reach. Each dime they have goes towards food and medicine. Currently they use a bag that they throw in the trash, a bucket, or dig a hole in their yard. There is a strong smell of urine in the air and the number of flies spreading disease is alarming and dangerous.
Originally, the plan was to build a septic system with a toilet for each family that would last up to 6 years. Recently, the municipality announced that a sewer system is planned to the community so the latrines we build today will be tied into the municipal system once it comes through. It is important to understand that even with services nearby, they do not hook up to individual homes. This project will provide toilets with today's limitations that carry over to tomorrow improvements.
Proper toilets will reduce bacteria, flies, odor and spread of disease. By eliminating the stigma of in pooping bags, overall physical and mental health will improve. It's hard to imagine the poverty in this barrio yet heartening to see them working diligently to improve their situation and rewarding to see them helping each other succeed. With a sanitary environment, this community can grow, the people will thrive, and receive a glimmer of hope that their lives can...and will improve!