Backoes and Buttonholes. Teresa Chavaria can talk integlligently on both of these topics. I like her already. As a member of the Water Committee in El Hatillo, she knows more than most about the finer points of digging trenches. And as a mother, a widow, and a 13-year resident of this community, she knows more than anyone should have to about water scarcity and making-do and going without.
She also knows buttonholes. And bobbins. And small business. While many leave the community to work in factories by day, Teresa owns a treadle sewing machine and does clothing repair work out of her home. The new water tank and tower is just a short walk away. From her home, she has been able to monitor the project’s progress and be involved in the construction planning, all while staying on top of her mending!
As a horse wanders down what I will call the main street of El Hatillo, I half expect to hear the twang that often precedes a dual in the dusty street of a cowboy movie, or see a tumbleweed ominously tumble by. But it does not. And by all accounts it is indeed 2019. Even though this community only just now having their own access to clean water, to me, certainly suggests otherwise.
A dedicated water well here means a consistent water source for the 120 families previously reliant on a neighbouring well that served them only when there was enough water and enough water pressure to reach their elevation. The recently installed tank and tower that will now gravity feed clean water through small pipes to each home will eliminate the guess work. It will allow the Water Committee to track water use through water meters, to charge user fees to create a reserve for maintenance, and to encourage responsible consumption. It will allow the community to benefit from clean water at their disposal, all of the time.
It will allow Teresa the freedom to further succeed.