By Eva Jiménez, PWW Honduras Volunteer
In February of 2015, Pure Water for the World arrived in El Porvenir de Arenas Blancas, a rural Trojes community comprised of 43 family homes and one community school. Within these homes, at that time, lived 117 children and 106 adults.
When PWW begins work in a community not everyone is interested in the clean water and sanitation project. “We have always done it this way. Why should we change it now?” is a concept that can be found around the globe…and rural Honduras is no different.
Thankfully, PWW has gained much respect over the years for its impactful work, and the word has spread, so they face this resistance less and less. However, when a family does resist, they are not forced to participate. Such was the case for the Perez-Torrez family, residents of El Porvenir de Arenas Blancas.
Carlos Perez and his wife, Rosario Torrez, are the parents of eight children. They get their water from a hose that comes from a stream up a hill by their home. In 2015, they did not have a latrine and relieved themselves in the bushes near their home. They did not see the need to change their ways when PWW was working in their community.
Their perspective shifted when, that same year, Nelson Perez-Torrez, their 9-year-old son, became very sick.
Nelson came down with fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and horrible stomachaches. His parents took him to the community healer, but he did not fully recover. They had to take him to the health center, in Trojes city, where the doctor told them he had a bad case of parasitic worms; so bad that it had resulted in Nelson experiencing severe anemia. After taking prescribed medications and deworming pills, Nelson’s health finally improved. But the doctor told Carlos and Rosario that he could easily get sick again if they didn’t change their water and sanitation practices.
That is when the Community Agent Coordinator in El Porvenir de Arenas Blancas, Don Alfredo, came and talked with them. He explained what PWW could do for them and for their children’s health.
When Rosa was sharing the story with me, she said, “One doesn’t place much importance on it [water and sanitation] until someone explains it.”
PWW had already completed work in El Porvenir de Arenas Blancas, so Carlos had to go into Trojes city, to the PWW office, to see what he could do to secure a water filter and latrine. He was able to purchase the water filter and get latrine-building materials from another family in his community. Don Alfredo trained the family on how to set up and use the water filter, including the necessary safe hygiene practices, as well as how to build and maintain the latrine.
Today, Nelson is a healthy 12-year-old who goes to school every day with his siblings, Miriam, William and Olman. They do not need to carry water with them to school in the mornings (like their parents and older siblings do when they go to work) because their community school also has a clean water filter from the PWW project.
The Perez-Torrez Family now places a great deal of importance on having clean water and a toilet. Every family member expressed how much healthier they are and how much it has changed their lives. They are immensely grateful for this change and for the work of Pure Water for the World.