PHOTO: Caroline Leal

PHOTO: Caroline Leal

Nicaragua can be described as a lost pearl of old Central America. Its existence is sometimes forgotten by the fame and notoriety of its larger Latin neighbors. Straddling the bridge between North and South America, Nicaragua sits on an important political, economic and cultural artery. And despite its turbulent and unpredictable history, Nicaragua has managed to preserve its colonial architecture, create a multi-cultural society and protect some of the world’s most stunning landscapes. These successes aside, this small nation still faces many challenges. Revolution and political uncertainty have meant that infrastructural development and sanitation have taken a back seat.

 PHOTO: Caroline Leal

PHOTO: Caroline Leal

El Porvenir is an organization which is actively seeking to remedy Nicaragua’s dire sanitation situation. Its mission is simple: to provide clean water, and ensure the health of Nicaragua’s entire population. For many of us, clean running water and restroom facilities are utilities we take for granted every day.  But these are luxuries not afforded to many communities around the world. The organization works to provide these facilities, building infrastructure designed to protect the water source, and educate communities about the connection between hygiene, water, sanitation, and disease.

 PHOTO: Caroline Leal

PHOTO: Caroline Leal

Doña Arcadia Hernández has experienced first-hand the great work by El Porvenir. “In the past, it was a sad situation. To get water, we had to dig for water by the stream... The water was dirty and made us sick with diarrhea and parasites. Sometimes we had to walk up to 3 kilometers to a neighboring community when the stream dried up,” Hernández said. One of the biggest problems facing her community was the lack of an effective sewerage system.

 PHOTO: Caroline Leal

PHOTO: Caroline Leal

“We didn’t have latrines. Everybody practiced open defecation. The animals ate our excrement and this contaminated everything. The worst was the reality that women and children weren’t safe to take care of our necessities.”

 PHOTO: Caroline Leal

PHOTO: Caroline Leal

The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) reported that “Rampant poverty is a factor… Latin America has the most inequitable income distribution in the world. Mirroring this is a pattern of tremendously unequal access to water. More than 130 million people have no safe drinking water in their homes, and only an estimated one out of every six persons enjoys adequate sanitation service.”

 PHOTO: Caroline Leal

PHOTO: Caroline Leal

El Porvenir is working proactively to remedy these issues using simple and cost-effective solutions. Hernández said, “Life is better now. Even people from other communities congratulate us on this project. The doctors that visit our community trust the water we drink now. We have more time to do other things in our homes, and we live in a cleaner environment. Without this support, we could have never accomplished so much. I give thousands of thanks to El Porvenir.”

To learn more about the organization's work, please click here.

 PHOTO: Caroline Leal

PHOTO: Caroline Leal

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