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Latrine Means Better Health, Less Danger

When money is tight, we all know that health care takes a back seat. For one father working with Food for the Hungry in the Philippines, this was his daily reality for his entire life.

Nilo Jubic, 44, has three children and says he struggles to provide them with food and school fees. He’s lived in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Basey, on the island of Samar, for more than 40 years.

Life in Basey got even tougher when Typhoon Haiyan devastated this coastal area in 2013. FH worked with Nilo and his neighbors to help rebuild homes, repair schools and re-start the local economy. These days, Nilo works as a tuba gatherer, at $12 per week – collecting palm tree sap, used to make palm wine. His wife Liezel embroiders mats, making only about $3 per day.

Making life Better than Before

But FH committed to doing more than help Nilo’s community return to their former way of life. Under a project called “Better than Before,” FH helped community leaders identify poverty-related issues that kept children from growing up healthy.

For Nilo, one of the community’s worst health issues was poor sanitation. Their house had piped-in water but the faucet produced yellow liquid that was clouded with dirt.  The family lacked a latrine, which meant either going to the bathroom in a nearby field, or off the neighborhood seawall.

“It’s really embarrassing to defecate in the open but we had no other choice,” Nilo says. “No matter how much I wanted to construct my own toilet, I couldn’t afford the installation expense.”

Toilets and more

Washing sand to make a biosand filter

FH’s program, supported by the FEMSA Foundation, constructed a communal latrine for 10 families to share, including Nilo’s. “At long last, before I got old, I could see my family defecate in a safe, enclosed and comfortable toilet,” Nilo says.

“There’s no need for my wife to accompany her daughters at night when they go to the bathroom in the field. I don’t step on human waste when I’m running fast due to having diarrhea. I don’t need to bring a flashlight and my bolo [knife] for fear of crawling animals in the field. I don’t need to bring my umbrella when it rains. And it is no longer shameful to accept visitors!”

FH also taught Nilo’s family how to make a biosand filter that changes their dirty yellow water to something clean and safe. “I’m proud that we’re using the filter now,” Nilo says. “We won’t experience diarrhea anymore because of contaminated water.”

More clean water

The work didn’t stop with the latrine construction and household filters. FH’s project also trained locals how to constructed a rainwater catchment system and reservoir, so that they have an alternative water source. On days when the household water taps run dry, they will have water stored for drinking, laundry and bathing.

And FH helped the community construct a biogas septic tank. The community is still working to collect enough human and animal waste to make the system operational.

Constructing the biogas septic tank

“Being poor, I oftentimes felt discrimination,” Nilo says. “The stigma of having no toilet passed down from my parents to my children. But with the help of FH, this issue will surely end! I thank you very much for this incomparable gift.”

You can help families like Milo’s by providing a latrine through the Food for the Hungry gift catalog.