HONDURAS – At 11 years old, Nelly was used to being sick—a lot. From an early age, unsafe drinking water hurt her and her siblings, but especially Nelly. She suffered from severe stomach pains almost daily, often missing school and feeling miserable.
In Nelly’s rural Honduras community of San Rafael, she was not alone. Safe drinking water was not readily available. Residents, usually women and children, would walk to a distant water source to retrieve semi-clean water for their families. The trek was long and challenging, especially for those who were already ill because of the water.
Most inhabitants of San Rafael live the lifestyle of peasant farm workers, earning low incomes that barely cover basic needs for their families. Thus, medical care is often unaffordable. Nelly’s mother, Maria, would brew fresh herbal tea to ease Nelly’s pain, but the effects were only temporary.
“Once, I was sick for two weeks. The pain was so strong that I started to cry,” Nelly said. “I wanted to go to school but could not.”
Operation Blessing Honduras knew of this community and its needs through the organization’s connections with local municipalities. To ease the burden of unsafe drinking water, OB Honduras installed a five-thousand gallon water tank with a purification system and a distribution network that brings safe drinking water to every home in the community. Nelly, her family, and their neighbors no longer have to accept a long trek for water as part of their daily routine; safe drinking water flows plentifully from their own faucets.
While the water tank and its working parts were being installed, Operation Blessing volunteers carried out a medical brigade. Nelly and other members of the community received medicine, vitamins, parasite treatments, and also classes in hygiene and handwashing.
Because of this project, “children are no longer afraid of getting sick from the water,” Nelly said. She and her siblings, along with their community in rural Honduras, can go about their daily lives with more security and wellness than ever before.
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