10-15-19  |  Our Programs Partnerships

An Oasis of Hope in Nicaragua

BY: Grethel Halftermeyer

Photo: Alejandro Romero ©

It is a very hot day in the rural community of El Espinito in northern Nicaragua. A few humble houses peek through a dry forest in this small town hit by the drought. White stones reflect the sun’s intense rays directly on the skin.

In one of the small adobe houses of the community, lives Melania, a rural woman who dedicates her time to farming and her family. The wrinkles and cracks in her face tell her story: a long journey of hard work, 10 children, and the premature loss of 2 of them. Despite all that, the woman smiles and her eyes convey resilience and hope.

Photo: Alejandro Romero ©

The day starts early for Melania’s family. Her husband is the first to wake up to arrive at work – a distant farm – when it is still dark. Melania helps her children to get ready for school, but first…. water! No activity can begin without water. Every day, Melania collects water from the community well. To get there, she travels 2 kilometers by foot on a narrow stony road. When the stones are too hot, they will burn the soles of her feet even with the use of shoes or sandals, but quenching her family’s thirst pushes the woman to do anything.

Photo: Alejandro Romero ©

Unfortunately, after years of drinking contaminated water from the well, Melania’s children fell ill with diarrhea and anemia. In an attempt to purify the water, the woman started using chlorine, but the taste of the water was so strong that the children refused to drink from it. Melania knew something had to be done for the sake of her family and the whole community. For this reason, when she heard about a “miraculous water purifier” through Fabretto, she immediately volunteered to become a promoter.

In partnership with Procter & Gamble (P&G), Fabretto provided Melania’s community with small packets engineered to be a mini-water treatment plant. Melania was also trained on its preparation and use and has been helping other families in El Espinito to learn. With one single packet, families can purify up to 1 liter of water in less than 30 minutes. Without these packets, families would spend several hours to boil water and add chlorine.

Photo: Alejandro Romero ©

“There were children in the community who were getting sick almost every day. Now that I am using the packets, I have seen many changes in my children; they don’t suffer much from the flu or the stomach and they have more energy,” says Melania.

Access to purified water has improved the lives of entire families in Nicaragua like Melania’s. The water purifier packets have empowered entire rural communities – farmers, teachers, housewives, students. Without a doubt, with clean water, El Espinito has become an oasis of hope.

Photo: Alejandro Romero ©

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