LOS BALCONES SECTOR #4, NICARAGUA

COMPLETE

STATUS

people impacted

dollars funded

FUNDED JULY 19, 2023

EXISTING CONDITIONS

Los Balcones Sector #4 is a small rural community located in the Chinandega, Somotillo province of Nicaragua. 202 people live there currently, but the proposed borehole well and hand pump will be able to service 1,000 people daily, so village growth will be encouraged.  Besides receiving access to clean, fresh water near their homes, villagers will be taught good hygiene practices, all of which will help to improve and maintain the people’s health. 

There is currently no clean water available to Los Balcones.  The existing hand-dug wells run dry – especially in the summer months. Therefore, the members of the community often have to drink water from the stream which is contaminated by pesticide run-off. There are many waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, parasitosis, and gastroenteritis among the population. Since most residents do not have sufficient income to purchase water, they must make do with the dirty contaminated water, jeopardizing their health and livelihoods.

Roberto Clemente is a beloved figure all across South America, known as much for his charitable works as for his many baseball achievements.  Born in Puerto Rico, Clemente died in a plane crash while en route to deliver aid to victims of the 1972 Nicaragua earthquake.  This well will be dedicated in memory of Roberto Clemente by the Clemente Museum who helped make this well possible.

A local well, now dried up

Central American countries can have issues with pesticides in their surface water due to no laws against using them in their fields. They spray and when it rains these chemicals flow into the open water sources. These can cause health issues. Early symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, and increased secretions, such as sweating, salivation, tearing, and respiratory secretions. Progressive symptoms include muscle twitching, weakness, tremor, incoordination, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea, [which] can be confused with waterborne illnesses, as many of the symptoms are the same.

Living Water tests for pesticides in the wells they drill. They test the water prior to putting the pump into place. We have run across a few wells over the years we were unable to complete but it is rare. We would find another location in the community to drill if this were to happen. 98% of the time, we are able to drill deep enough to arrive at a clean aquifer. But pesticides can be an issue in larger farming communities.

LIVING WATERS INTERNATIONAL’S PROGRAM

Our implementation through WASH Program Areas is unique, in that it aims to bring lasting physical and spiritual development in communities, through a multi-year program focused on specific regions, thoughtfully integrating and contextualizing principles of water access, sanitation, hygiene, church mobilization, gospel proclamation, and sustainability. Living Water has strong financial
reporting [that] the Houston office oversees for accountability.

SPECIFIC COSTS AND FUNDING INFORMATION

Total Project Cost: $5,000

Funding Requested from Ingomar Living Waters: $3,500
The remaining funds will come from where-most-needed gifts, and grants towards gospel proclamation will be applied to complete this work for the community.

Costs Breakdown:

  • Well Materials:  hand pump, cement, drilling fluid, piping, gravel, sand, and fuel
  • Labor: Labor for putting the well into place. Our staff are paid appropriate salary rates, which include the country’s requirement of a 13th month salary, and health INS benefits.
  • Administrative Costs: will be paid for by other donations.
  • Other Costs: The remaining other costs will cover the health and sanitation education/training, ongoing sustainability efforts, evangelistic and discipleship program, administration, and oversight.

Timeline: Funds were needed by June 30 for the project to start by July 15 and finish by the end of summer.  Note that since ILW funding was delayed, project completion will probably run into early fall.

Person interviewed

WELL MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR

We will provide training and backstopping support during the first 6 years, until the local water committee and community have gathered enough fees to build a reserve for funding future maintenance.  Water users will pay small monthly water user fees by household and these funds will be collected and managed by the water user committee, for future repairs and maintenance of the system.  The well caregiver will be assigned and equipped to do the ongoing general care of the project at the clinic.

DISCIPLESHIP

Living Water employs a pastor within each country’s staff. Their purpose is to engage with the local churches/pastors/church members, speaking into unity, spiritual growth and how to be health advocates within their communities. Bible storying training is coordinated within the WPA at several locations and outreach evangelism events, such as the Jesus film, family activities with spiritual influence, or rallies, to name a few. Bibles are given out to new believers or believers who do not have access to a bible in their own language. Other pastoral trainings or pastoral fellowship activities unite Christians throughout the WPA in sharing the gospel and uplifting believers.

FUTURE IMPACT

Once safe water is flowing in the Los Balcones community, residents will be able to focus on education and income-generating activities, to provide for their families and for future generations. Within the community, you will begin to see gardens being planted, happy
children playing and attending school, and small stands where women own small businesses from the excess food from their gardens. They will have the time and energy to pursue their interests and all residents will have the opportunity to flourish physically and spiritually.

Los Balcones Community Members

COMPLETED OCTOBER 5, 2023

The residents celebrate your generosity at the well dedication ceremony.

The Los Balcones community was in the midst of a severe water crisis that made the struggle for safe, accessible water an everyday battle. Several local wells once supplied the community with plenty of safe water, but during the scorching summer months, the wells dried up completely, leaving the residents trapped in a desperate situation. The local church’s well became a beacon of hope and provided temporary respite, but even this source wasn’t always reliable. On the days when the church was closed, the community was left with no option but to buy water, a costly commodity that many couldn’t afford.

To make matters worse, the residents didn’t know the origins of the water they purchased and many times it was unsafe to drink. Consuming the contaminated water led to a widespread outbreak of illness, with most community members falling victim to waterborne conditions such as diarrhea and vomiting. When community members were sick, they couldn’t see to their families, work, or do chores. The cycle of sickness and scarcity trapped the community members in patterns of reactivity.

Meyling Lisseth Maradiaga is a 23-year-old housewife in Los Balcones. She shared her experience with the water crisis: “The wells we used to have dried up in the summer. We had to walk a kilometer to the Free Apostolic Church to ask for water because they were the only place with a well. One day the church was closed, and we had to buy water. Then, after consuming the [purchased] water, most of the people in the community got sick with diarrhea and vomiting.”

Los Balcones grappled with water scarcity for years. The community leaders knew they needed a sustainable solution to their pressing crisis.

The old well at the local church couldn’t
keep up with the demand for water.

Construction crews work
to drill a new borehole

CONSTRUCTION DETAILSCOMMUNITY DETAILS
Pump Type:hand pumpPrevious water source:hand-dug well
Project Type:new simple water systemLocation:rural community
Depth of Well:48 m  (157.48 ft)Total users:202
Coliform bacteria:absentMain water collectors:women and children

 

The community knew they had found a solution to their water crisis when they discovered Living Water was working in their area. Community leaders contacted Living Water Nicaragua, requesting a new well. The Living Water staff visited Los Balcones to assess the situation and found that the community was in dire need of safe water and was prepared to sustain and steward such a resource. Because of your generosity, the staff announced a new well could be built in the center of their community.

The Living Water staff aided the community in establishing sustainability practices to help ensure a long-term future of safe water access. To this end, the staff guided the community in the selection of a water committee to oversee the care and maintenance of the well. Living Water will stay in contact with the committee to support sustainability efforts and monitor the well’s functionality. The Los Balcones residents are proud to be agents of change in their region, implementing community-driven solutions that will serve as the blueprint for other improvements.

A resident collects safe water with ease!

The Living Water Nicaragua staff also led sanitation and hygiene promotional activities in the community. The participants benefited from the hands-on approach and the visual aids used in the lessons. They learned about how improvements in their personal hygiene can impact the community at large. The residents also learned that the best way to safeguard themselves against germ spread and disease transmission was by correct and thorough handwashing. The staff demonstrated the proper technique and gave residents the opportunity to practice.

In addition to providing safe water, your gift allowed the Living Water staff to share the gospel with the Los Balcones community members. During an evangelistic service, Living Water staff, in conjunction with a local pastor, explained that Jesus cares for both their physical and spiritual thirst. This presentation of the gospel was tied to the message of John 4:13-14, where Jesus offers his abundant living water to everyone.

Meyling is grateful for abundant safe water so close by. She has gained back valuable time with access to sustainable water.
She said, “Now, we have safe water! We will no longer have to walk so much in search of water.”

Your Impact

Ingomar Living Waters, thank you for giving this community safe water! Your gift has been instrumental in helping the Los Balcones residents escape a physically and psychologically taxing situation. Because of you, the residents no longer have to worry about their health or spend most of their paychecks on one of life’s most basic necessities. With the gift of this water point, you have lifted a heavy burden; now the community members can focus on their jobs, schooling, and what matters most to them. Sustaining their new well has instilled hope and confidence in the community. Your gift also serves as a reminder of God’s great love for each person in Los Balcones, evidence that he cares both for their physical and spiritual needs.

Thank you to the anonymous donors who helped make this project happen.  And thank you to Clemente Museum for providing the wine which was turned into the gift of clean water to help all of the people around Los Balcones in Nicaragua.  You have helped provide relief to those whom Roberto was trying to serve.  Thank you!

All projects are made possible by World Changers.