As the sun barely peaks behind the trees, Pastor Marietta—the community leader of Hoyo Oscuro in the Dominican Republic—wakes up, slips on tattered sandals, grabs a five-gallon bucket, and begins the arduous journey to her local water source. The water comes from a hole in the ground full of murky creek water. She trudges up a narrow path that winds up the mountainside. The previous day’s rain has left the path muddy and slick, and Pastor Marietta loses her footing. Frustration has no time to sink in, however, if she wants to have water for her family when they wake up. She continues on the several mile walk, dodging cow manure and clusters of thorns. Once Pastor Marietta reaches the top of the trail, she dips her bucket in the water, and draws the dirt filled, bacteria infested water, the stench of the nearby creek filling her nose.
She balances the now forty-pound bucket on her head and begins the steep descent back to her community, feet now covered in mud and brow drenched in sweat. When Pastor Marietta reaches the bottom of the mountain, she has no time to rest. She must make this walk again five more times to provide enough water to last through the day for her three children and nine grandchildren.
Before March of 2016, this was Pastor Marietta and the rest of the women in Hoyo Oscuros’ stories. It isn’t their story anymore. Now, because of Healing Waters International, they have access to safe water in their homes every day. They have time to spend with their families, invest in education, and provide financially for their children.
Since the installation of a water purification system in Hoyo Oscuro, 18,563 gallons of water have been distributed, and Pastor Marietta has seen the people in the community embracing hope and thriving as they never have before. Children are much less likely to suffer the debilitating effects of water borne illnesses. Before they had safe water, many children were passing away before the age of five. Now, they are living longer, healthier lives.
Hoyo Oscuro also has a group of women who are currently going through “Clothed in Strength and Dignity,” our Health and Hygiene program. Women in the community are learning the importance of preventing water related illnesses through applicable hygiene and sanitation skills as well as building meaningful, lasting relationships with one another. Pastor Marietta is thankful for the constant support women here are showing women there and changing their lives forever.
Will you help us bring dignity and hope to women around the world and change the stories of other communities like this one?