Most of us have experienced the inconvenience of life without water for a few hours. In my neighborhood on the edge of Antigua, it’s not uncommon for a neighbor to borrow a shower. Water is turned off from 10pm-5am each night and it seems like a pipe or the pump breaks weekly, leaving us without water for a few hours during the day. We have learned how to adjust. We keep a few containers of water ready. Our longest water shortage so far was for 3 days.
The village of El Hato has not had water in a month. Can you imagine not having water for a complete month? It’s the dry season here and a lot of stomach bugs are going around. This past weekend my son vomited in the car, in his bed, and left no linen unsoiled. I’ve been thinking about those El Hato moms trying to care for their sick children who share beds with several family members with no water. There are a few springs in the village, but the water is not enough to go around. Women have been waiting in line all through the night for their turn to take a bucket. With continuous visits to the water office from the community, local businesses, and representatives from the school, we have managed to get two delivery trucks of water in the past month.
Rumors are flying. I have heard the well in Guayabal where the water is pumped from is dry, that all water is being redirected to Antigua, that the pump is broken, and that there is a new pump waiting in storage at the water office but the paper work hasn’t gone through to use it. The fact is there is no water. In a school with 350 students, this translates to no hand washing, no bathrooms, no snack program, no cleaning, thirsty kids, sick teachers, and unsanitary conditions for all. Water Department of Antigua, we are disappointed in you.
Help Las Manos help the El Hato community. Volunteer with us when you’re in Antigua, or donate here.