0 In Water Wells

the refreshment of it

Sure, it was cute. That adorable little guy giggled with delight as he splashed me with water, and I dramatically played the victim of his little game. Sure, when Josenia, a school teacher and community leader, stuck her hand in the bucket, the elevated ruse delighted her pupils and everyone squealed with amusement! Sure, when Pedro, water project engineer, picked up the bucket and ‘pretended’ like he was going to dump it on me, I played along. Hahaha, I thought, as more squeals ensued.

And then he actually did it.

In one fell swoop he deviously tossed the contents of the bucket in my direction and soaked me from head to toe. And, I actually loved it. “Thank you!” seemed like the most appropriate reaction in the full heat of a scorcher of a day in the small community of Posolteguilla, Nicaragua, as onlookers laughed hysterically. How refreshing, I thought.
(Of course the uptight-me also thought, oh my god, don’t waste the water…! But, I was reminded that the well inauguration and this water-fight-fueled fun (apparently including mockery at my expense) was a special occasion for celebration and certainly not a common occurrence!).

Afterwards, when I peacefully visited with Josenia (despite the part she played in conspiring against me) in all my water-logged glory, she told me how this well, located centrally in the community in the schoolyard of the primary school not only provides clean water for each family in the community, but also provides safe drinking water for students during the school day, something previously unheard of! How refreshing, I thought.

Secondary students had gathered for the celebration, even though they attend secondary school in a neighbouring community, and they were intent on practicing the few english words they knew. Hello. Good Morning. I love you. The standards. They also wanted to learn a few new ones, starting with the translation of the word blanco – white. They also wanted to share a little bit about themselves. How refreshing, I thought.

Michael, smiling proudly and holding tight to baby Alondra, told me about the dirty water that used to make him sick to his stomach. He wants to be a doctor. Gabriella wants to be an agronomist. To my surprise, Tobias asked me my name back in English. Leybin had questions about Canada. Where is it? What are our seasons? And, unbelievably, do we have facebook?! Armed with a new english adjective with which to describe my skin, they rode off on their bicycles, two or three on each, excited to start the day. How refreshing, I thought.

Though a temporary manual pump is currently in place, partnership with the municipality will see an electric pump installed as well as a pipe system to deliver water to each house in the future. More collaboration, less charity. How refreshing, I thought.

As I cut the ribbon to inaugurate the well, funded by Bearspaw School right here in Alberta, I was already looking forward to reporting back to let them know how they were able to touch a community seemingly a world away. It’s exciting to me that we all have the opportunity to do the same! And that we are.

People helping people. How refreshing. Don’t you think?

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