Rotary Helping with Water Safety


Rotary  is lending a hand in Nicaragua by helping provide clean water and improving sanitation in the impoverished country

Rotary District 7790, including the Farmington Rotary, is lending a hand in Nicaragua by helping provide clean water and improving sanitation in the impoverished country.

"I was excited to see that Rotary listened to the people and gave them the wells they wanted," said Farmington Rotarian Al Feather, who showed a slideshow of his recent trip to Nicaragua at a Rotary meeting on July 2. He said that people there were grateful for the help, as the Nicaraguan government has made a lot of promises that it hasn't followed through on.

Rotary was able to secure grant funds to do the projects, said Feather. He noted that there was a slight delay in the approval process because of the water and sanitation project's remote location.

Nicaragua is a country with three distinct geographical regions, said Feather. The west coast, along the Pacific Ocean, is the country's population center. There are several volcanoes nearby. The middle of the country has a mix of mountains and forest, while the east coast, where Feather and the Rotarians worked, consists of hills, forests, and rivers that flow to the Caribbean Sea.

Most of the region in which Feather and other Rotary members were working is populated by Mesquito Indians, he said. Homes are put on raised stilts, and grass is clipped by cattle and horses, rather than lawn mowers.

"Though the water was clean in most of the streams, keep in mind that you can't see the bacteria," said Feather.

International borders are non-existent, as people meander back and forth over the border between Nicaragua and surrounding nations to hunt and fish. The Nicaraguan diet consists mostly of beans and rice, with some homemade cheese, eggs, and fried plantains as well.

Intestinal diseases are the major health concern, said Feather. There are few good wells in the region with a concrete seal cover, a drain away from the well, and a working pump. Most wells are old fashioned rope wells.

"The goal is to build a well for every five homes," he said. "It's amazing what a 20-foot hole in the ground with a rope and a wheel can do to supply water."

Feather said that part of the funding will be used to build concrete drains for the wells and fortify the well walls to prevent collapse. Another portion of the funding will be used to construct latrines.

In his time in Nicaragua, Feather was struck by the emphasis placed on family.

"There are many families who are very supportive," he said. "The family is the heart and soul of each family."

The three-year Rotary work plan will have volunteers assist village leaders as they work together with families to dig wells.

"We hope to send numerous teams from Rotary to help with the program," said Feather.

Source: SunJournal

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