There is possibly nothing quite as satisfying as seeing something come full circle. Witnessing an idea, a notion, or simply a spark turn into something bigger. Something better. Something truly amazing, empowering. And, dare I suggest, also life-changing? I dare.
As I gear up to visit Nicaragua in May and meet the community that this group will forever be connected to, I am reminded of the community of Parque Memorial and witnessing the full circle of it there.
In 2014, I visited the community of Parque Memorial with Change for Children and returned with their story. I even wrote a blog post about it HERE. Without water and with few resources, they identified their need.
At the foot of Volcan Casita, the community was devastated and thousands of lives were lost to a landslide brought on by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The people had since chosen to return to their land to make a life. But, without access to water, life had not been easy. For people whose survival is primarily based on an economy of subsistence and the trade of goods made, produced, or reaped with their own hands, accessing water at the nearest water source, 4km away, came at a high cost — money, time, productivity.
One year later, we traveled the same dry, dusty road we traveled a year before. Again I took note as the power poles ran out and the road became a dirt path. But on this day, at the end of the line, where before there was but a dusty clearing, on this day there were palm fronds and balloons. Where before there was worry on the faces of those gathered, on this day, there was only pride.
The crumbling structure that once marked the location of the abandoned well shaft had been reinforced and, now painted a bright blue, supports the community’s water tank. The water pump in this off-the-grid community is powered by six solar panels erected on a structure nearby (and is of course adorned with balloons for the occasion!).
Declared by the community as being on holy ground, the solar well installation delivers clean water to this community of forty families. But, after years of going without, the novelty of having access to water has not worn off in the least. A pinata-worthy celebration, unfathomable only a year before, ensues!
One year before, we had met Inez, now president of the community Water Committee. Before, she had shown us her scars. This time, she showed us the community’s bank book boasting a positive balance to be used for well maintenance. Before, she had told us of the struggles. This time, she tells of improved health, school attendance, and the gift of time. Before, she had assured us that they were ready and organized and prepared to take on a community well. This time, she proved to us that she was right.
I look forward to closing another circle in May. And I look forward to our virtual travel together. Stay tuned!