Mercedes stands next to a new pila (wash basin) which will help her to protect her family from Zika-carrying mosquitoes.

Protecting Her Family from Zika

Mercedes stands next to a new pila (wash basin) which will help her to protect her family from Zika-carrying mosquitoes.

HONDURAS – As a single mother of three, Mercedes’ life has not been easy in her Honduran community of Monte Verde. She works hard in the kitchen of a cafeteria, but is only able to provide for her children’s basic food and educational needs. Because she believes that education is the most important investment she can make into their futures, improving her home is a luxury that has not been an option for Mercedes. Therefore, she washed the family’s clothes in an old stone basin—a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry diseases like Zika, dengue and chikungunya. To make matters worse, her community only receives water once every ten days, and the residents must store the water in containers where it quickly becomes a stagnant breeding ground for mosquitoes as well.

Mercedes used to wash her clothes in this old stone basin, which was a breeding ground for Zika-carrying mosquitoes to grow.

Fortunately, Operation Blessing has been running a pilot program in Monte Verde to reduce the number of disease carrying mosquitoes. They identified Mercedes’ home as being vulnerable to mosquito and larvae reproduction, and they decided to step in and do something about it for the good of her family and the whole community.

Standing here are Operation Blessing volunteers in Honduras, who are dedicated to helping their community wipe out the mosquito-borne threat of illnesses.

By providing water containers that are larger, safer and easier to clean, as well as providing a brand new pila (wash basin) for Mercedes, the OBI staff made a way for her to better protect her family and community from Zika and other viruses. “Never in my life had I received a gift like this. When people came in from OB, it felt like angels came to my house,” she said. The new pila will make life much easier for Mercedes, and OBI also trained her in safe practices for preventing mosquito reproduction. “I am very grateful for what they have done for me and my community. People today are more aware of taking care of our environment and feel that God sent them to help us.”

Mercedes and her son pose in front of their new pila and water containers.

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