GUATEMALA – “All the children get sick. They suffer from stomach pain and headaches. I think we adults are able to hold on a little longer—we’re used to it,” said one resident of Suiche, a remote community that struggles with clean water access in Guatemala.
Can you imagine the conditions that led to that statement—the countless days and nights fighting sickness and fatigue? Think about the long hours spent by children’s bedsides, worrying and attempting to comfort them as illness kept them awake. And why is their life so difficult? Simply because they lack clean water.
Water Struggles In Suiche
The people in this village work hard, most of them farming bananas. But they still suffer in poverty. If someone in Suiche needed water and couldn’t afford to pay for it, they’d have to hope the hand-dug watering hole was free of dead animals. And if it had dried up, as happens every summer when the temperature soars as high as 104 degrees, they’d be forced to brave the snake infested waters of the nearby river to find enough dirty water to get by. It wasn’t even unheard of for a thirsty soul to return from such a journey with a poisonous bite.
For sisters Mirely and Darling in Suiche, their parents managed to scrape together enough money to pay for drinking water to keep them from getting sick. But that expense put a huge strain on the family’s finances. And they still had to meet other household cleaning and bathing needs with the dirty water available to them. Mirely shared, “When I take a bath, I always suffer allergies, and I feel like I’m never clean.” Her sister added, “One day we went with my mom to buy something at the store, and I felt uncomfortable because of the bad smell of my skin.”
The residents have done their best to provide the cleanest possible water to their children. Often they improvised to create handmade filters from buckets filled with sand and lime. But that didn’t stop waterborne illness from devastating the community. Even Darling’s family faced this obstacle, despite buying as much better quality water as they could.
She recalled, “When I take a bath, sometimes I accidentally swallow water in my mouth, and the next day my stomach hurts a lot.”
That is no kind of life for a precious child. But the kids in Suiche now have hope—because friends like you cared.
Providing Clean Water Access
Together with you, Operation Blessing has long invested in Guatemala. When we heard about the situation in Suiche, we knew there had to be something that could be done to help these families. Our team set to work providing a solution in partnership with the community. A solution for the community that would provide clean water access in Guatemala.
They needed a way to eliminate harmful bacteria—and you sent help their way. Because there was no adequate water source, our Guatemalan team dug an 80-foot well to reach an underground source of water, which was then pumped through a series of contaminant-removing filters before being collected in a 2,700-gallon tank to provide a clean, reliable water supply for the long term.
A Brighter Tomorrow With Clean Water
You gave this community a chance to live free from waterborne illness—what a miracle! And the people not only have nearby access to this water, it’s being pumped directly to every household, church, and school. With their water worries now behind them, they can look forward to a brighter, healthier future. Mirely was overjoyed. “Now the water smells very good, and it tastes nice!”
And now, 30 families and two churches are free from the burden of contaminated water. Parents don’t have to force their kids to drink something they know might hurt them. Children will grow and learn more effectively as they attend school without constantly battling sickness. Darling’s words say it all: “Thank you for what you’ve done for our community. God bless you!”