When a family or community gains access to a well, pipeline, or other quality water source for the first time, it means clean, safe water for everyone to drink. And that is essential to health and quality of life.
But it means so much more. It brings clean, accessible water for cooking, cleaning homes, and washing clothes, dishes, and hands. It enables bathing and – yes, even flushing.
Ultimately, it means better health and a day-to-day improvement for a family’s way of life. For Beatriz and her family in Bolivia – and others like her – who have suffered without nearby access to water for generations, these are the life-changing blessings that come with the gift of water.
Before the Blessings of Water
In the past, when Beatriz’ children asked for water, she constantly had to tell them “no.” And it broke her heart.
They didn’t have water plumbed into their home. There was no nearby well in the community. And while a water truck made periodic stops in their neighborhood, they were at the end of the route. Routinely, the available supply of water was exhausted before the truck made it to their home.
So Beatriz and her children frequently made the long walk to a dirty river to wash their clothes and then hauled household water back in heavy plastic jugs. They were only able to carry a very limited amount, so water was always in short supply. Every bucket had an important job to do, so not a drop could go to waste.
Between walks, Beatriz rationed the water to make it go as far as possible. And that often meant telling her thirsty children, “No more water.”
“The biggest challenge I faced every day was limiting the use of water for my children, and telling them that they could not use water when I was not home,” Beatriz remembers. “I was worried and sad, feeling I was not providing good living conditions for my children. But I had hope that some day the community would improve.”
“Some day” finally came when Food for the Hungry (FH) arrived in her community with a plan to provide the blessings of water.
Blessing 1: Washing Clothes
Beatriz once carried her family’s laundry to the river for washing twice a month. But not anymore!
Beatriz delights in the blessing of clean water to wash clothes at her own home.
Thanks to the generosity of FH supporters, Beatriz’s family was one of many in the community who received a laundry sink and clean water piped right into their homes.
Now, she can wash her family’s clothes in clear, clean water at any time. She no longer carries heavy loads of laundry to the river. And Beatriz can now watch her children happily play at home while she washes clothes – instead of constantly fearing that they’ll fall into the river where she once had to wash the laundry.
Blessing 2: Water for Healthy Vegetables
Beatriz and her family are now able to grow their own food in a home garden because of the easily accessible water they use to nurture the vegetables. This means they can enjoy nutritious, plentiful meals from the crops they harvest themselves!
Beatriz’s son, Mauriño, helps his mom water their thriving vegetable garden.
“Now I grow vegetables at home, like squash and tomatoes,” Beatriz says. “And I can water them every day without rationing the water.”
The children are her eager assistants in the garden, helping their mom use the ample water supply to water the plants and make their veggies grow.
Blessing 3: Washing Hands
Another blessing of water that caused rejoicing at Beatriz’s house is the ability to wash hands and maintain good hygiene without fear of running out of water.
With clean water from her own sink, Beatriz teaches her daughter to wash her hands properly.
“I do not worry about water anymore,” Beatriz says with a smile. “My children can clean themselves and even shower our dogs without any concerns.”
Instead of keeping a meager water supply away from them, she now encourages them to use the water they need to wash and avoid illnesses, allowing her children to grow and thrive.
More Blessings of Water on the Way
“I’m very grateful because FH made my dream come true – to have water in my own house,” says Beatriz.
And perhaps the greatest blessing of all is Beatriz’ hopeful outlook for the future. Their access to clean water is a tool to fight against extreme poverty for her family and their community.
“Now that I have water, I dream of seeing my children help other people the same way FH helped my community.”
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