|The community of San Carlos celebrates the water system.|
Down the road from the gathering, an electric pump pulls water from deep underground and sends it to a storage tank that sits on a hill overlooking the village. From this tank, clean water flows through a pipe system to serve each home in San Carlos, a village of La Unión. This is the reason for the balloons.
On Sept. 29, San Carlos inaugurated its water system, a project that was completed as a partnership among Unión MicroFinanza (UMF), Medical, Education, Training and Development, Inc. (METAD) and the community of San Carlos. The system gives consistent water access to the people of San Carlos, who previously used a hose to gather surface water that was often only available during rainy season. This was reason enough to celebrate. But this project will also improve health: the surface water on which the village previously relied was contaminated by sewage, coffee processing waste water, and chemical runoff from nearby farms. This is the first potable water system in the villages surrounding La Unión.
|Tonito Ponce enjoys clean water from an underground well.|
With training and financial resources from METAD, UMF helped direct the project from initial assessments by a water engineer to the finishing touches on the system. The village of San Carlos created a committee to ensure that the community was involved in decision-making from the start of the project, and they worked closely with UMF and METAD. The water committee is also responsible for system maintenance and continued education in the village about clean water use, hygiene and sanitation.
The speakers at the inauguration celebrated the benefits of a water system for the community, but one could see the benefits firsthand by walking to a nearby spout and filling up a glass of crystal-clear water.
|Partners involved in the water project celebrate at the inauguration: |
The community of San Carlos, METAD, UMF and the municipality of La Unión.