GIVE WHERE MOST NEEDED

Dear UMCOR: letter from partner in Nicaragua

Dear UMCOR: letter from partner in Nicaragua

March 2020 | ATLANTA

Dear UMCOR,

This year, El Porvenir proudly celebrates its 30th anniversary. Since 1990, we have partnered with rural communities on 1,413 water, sanitation and hygiene education and reforestation projects that have benefited over 196,000 Nicaraguans, like Rosa Solís and her family in the story below.

Thanks to your support, El Porvenir can continue partnering with local residents to implement these life-saving and life-changing projects that improve quality of life for everyone in the community, as well as those who live downstream.

Rosa and her husband sell clothes to support their three children, who are in 4th and 5th grade. This small family is of limited resources and has always suffered in terms of their physiological needs because they did not have their own latrine.

“I never knew what a latrine was as a kid or even after I married. We had to go outdoors, usually about 500 meters away to ensure that the bad smell of feces did not reach the house. It was a horrible situation; we had no privacy,” said Doña Rosa.

“It was difficult when my children had to take care of their needs at night, I had to take them out beyond the house in the dark. It was dangerous; a snake or any other animal could have hurt us. Once, we built a latrine lined with plastic to try to better our situation; eventually, it collapsed. In the rainy season, it was also difficult. I remember that we had to try to cover ourselves to be able to go into the trees in the rain.”

The people of Los Calpules asked El Porvenir for support to build latrines at each home. “For a month, we have enjoyed having our own latrine. I feel happy because, for the first time, we have this change in our family. At the beginning, my kids were afraid to enter the latrine, but now they are learning to use it. I also teach them the habit of hand washing after using it and to cover the latrine seat,” says Doña Rosa.

“We now have privacy and security when taking care of our needs. Diseases like fever, cholera, and diarrhea—which our children used to have often—are now reduced. We worried when our kids were sick and spent a lot of money on medicines, so this has also helped us financially, too. Now the money once spent on medicine is invested in food or anything else necessary for our home, and we no longer pollute the environment as in the past.”

El Porvenir had the privilege of working alongside community members in Los Calpules to build double-pit latrines for Rosa’s family and their neighbors. In 2020, El Porvenir will continue its 30-year trajectory of success that has positively affected the lives of so many rural Nicaraguans.

Alex Penwill

Clean Water, Healthy Nicaraguans