Jensy helps set piping for the grey-water system
In the face of great challenges, inaction is a normal response. We all know what it feels like to stare at a fearsome problem and want to save ourselves the trouble of failing. The initiative of forward-looking leaders, however, is often all that is needed to spur the rest of us into action.
Jensy Rodriguez, a 28-year-old resident of El Pital, is one such leader. The lack of a sustainable, healthy water source for the community is a problem that to many seems insurmountable, in part due to the absence of government support for constructing an effective system. But Jensy and other members of El Pital’s Water Board are ensuring that community members band together to find a reliable way of bringing drinkable water into their homes.
Since 2010, Un Mundo has been supporting the Water Board in taking steps to address this large-scale issue. Currently, thanks to the help of engineering students from Duke University in June of this year, the Board is in the process of setting up a grey-water filtration system so that wastewater from El Pital’s houses doesn’t pollute the Cangrejal River. In the upcoming years, the Board’s goals include increasing the number of dry composting toilets in the community, reforesting the site of the mountain spring that will serve as the new water source, and continuing to raise public awareness of how to prevent water-borne illnesses. Ultimately, by 2020, the group plans to have constructed a fully functional system that will bring plentiful, clean water to all houses in El Pital.
“I enjoy working on the water project because I love my community. This is where I was born, this is where I grew up, and this is where I am now, and I want to work for my community so that it can have better water service,” says Jensy, who joined the Water Board just under a year ago. The work is challenging; sometimes the Board puts long hours into organizing fundraising events, and sometimes unforeseen obstacles complicate project work. Nevertheless, Jensy says, the cooperation of the Water Board members and other people in the community is what makes it all seem doable: “One of the things I’ve learned is how important teamwork is. I think that working as a team lightens the load; having one person doing everything by themselves is tiring and just doesn’t work.”
Jensy knows that the road to completing the water project won’t be easy, but she has faith that she and her teammates will be able to achieve their common goals. Once the new water system is in place, she says, “many more houses will benefit” from a more extensive system, and “I think we’re going to have water that’s much better for our health.”
Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, Jensy and the rest of the Water Board will be able to continue working toward their dream of a healthier, more sustainable water supply for El Pital. Please consider making another contribution to this vitally important project, and thank you for joining us in believing in this vision!