A wide spot in my imagination.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 2: Blogging through Ecuador - Running Water

Photo: This picture is a 1951 photo of Otavalan women bathing and washing clothes in San Pablo Lake. The photo is from Archivo Blomberg.

"Running Water"

The village of Cachimuel, where we are working, is perched on a mountainside overlooking San Pablo Lake. The village (or "community") stretches maybe two miles or more up the steep hillside. The road is cobblestone, turning to dirt. I've seen one tractor in the community and maybe two cars. The vast majority of the people here (indigenous Otavalan Indians) have no cars. They walk.

Until 12 years ago, the people of Cachimuel had no running water. Instead, every day, people from the community walked the two miles or so to the lake. They filled barrels and jars of water and carried them on their backs up the mountain to their homes. Sometimes twice a day or more.

No toilets. No sinks. No running water. Until 1998.

FEDICE (the NGO we're working with) helped organize the community to create a water system. Now, fresh water is piped from springs in the mountains above down into the village.

At some of the houses, the trenches for the water pipes are freshly dug. At some houses, the water valves outside are still sparkling new.

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