We first met Gloria Benitez, a mother of fourteen, in Las Cañadas, Honduras in 2017. We were introduced to her at a meeting near her water source where she collected murky water from a shallow stream.
Gloria spoke first, describing how Water1st was one of many delegations to visit her community that so desperately needed clean water—including government agencies and other development organizations. Those visits would give the community reason to hope for a solution to their water crisis. And then they would never hear from them again.
Despite our assurances, when we drove away that day, the women stared at us skeptically with their arms folded. It was an image of hopelessness that none of us would shake.
From January to March, our local partner organization did what they committed to do—they performed investigations to determine the exact project budget and technical feasibility. They tested the flow rate of the mountain spring that will serve Las Cañadas to ensure the community will have ample water during the dry season. They sent a surveying team to finalize the pipeline route and obtained right-of-way permissions.
Two months after that first visit, we returned to Las Cañadas to share our plans for their community water system. Gloria was again the first to speak up; she said, “To be honest, we didn’t think you would return. But now we believe this project will be built.”
The Las Cañadas project was especially complex as the transmission pipeline carrying water from the spring to the water storage tank had to be installed on extremely steep slopes. Community members, who are responsible for 100% of the system construction, dug miles of trench and carried pipes weighing as much as 300 pounds for many miles over the mountainous terrain.
Pipeline construction under these conditions seems almost impossible. Most certainly it is impossible without hope.
And yet, this past January, we attended the inauguration ceremony at Las Cañadas where every single household in the community now has a kitchen tap, shower, and toilet—including Gloria’s.
As we celebrated the completion of their water project, Gloria told us, “I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. Now my days start with a cup of coffee instead of a walk for water. I thank God for sending me little angels to fund this water project.”
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