Finally! Safe drinking water for school children in Marlon Zelaya!

Jairo installing the new CTI-8 system in the tank

Marlon Zelaya is a rural community of about 600 people living outside of El Castillo in the southern state of Rio San Juan, Nicaragua.  Today, thanks to you, the all 96 households and the local school have clean, safe drinking water!

The leaders of Marlon Zelaya have been aware of the importance of clean water for several years now, but keeping the water clean has been a struggle. In 2014, the Mayor’s office implemented a project for Marlon Zelaya that brought them an electric chlorination device system. They were thrilled to finally have clean drinking water, but ongoing challenges meant that their excitement was short lived.  The community leaders had difficulties obtaining the necessary products, such as granulated chlorine, to make the chlorination process work.  It was inconvenient and costly to travel back and forth to Managua, an eight-hour bus ride away, to buy that form of chlorine. It was not cost effective since they would often spend $70 per month for the tablets and travel expenses in order to keep their drinking water safe.

Jairo, president of the Marlon Zelaya  Water and Sanitation Committee (CAPS), contacted me a few months ago to discuss alternate possibilities to access clean water that wouldn’t be so expensive, so I traveled the 62 kilometers to meet him and inspect the current system.  Jairo told me, “I heard that in Buena Vista and Laureano Mairena communities there was a purifying device.  I wanted to learn more about this so I went to the mayor’s office to find out more information. There, I spoke with Amer, the UMAS technician.  He informed me about the new device that operated in those communities, a CTI-8 system, installed by an organization named Self-Help International.  He said he’d contact them to get a similar project into my community in Marlon Zelaya.  Now, this has all happened, and here you are talking to me about applying the device!”

Together, we examined their water storage tank and I saw that it provided water not only to the households, but also to a nearby school, where more than 100 students ages 6-14 get their water every day.  This increased the importance and potential for installing a safe, clean system since children who are drinking dirty water are often sick and unable to go to school and learn. After careful examination, we determined that the CTI-8 chlorinator that Self-Help promotes would be an appropriate replacement since it’s both effective and less expensive for the community.

Jairo was excited about the opportunity to ensure safe drinking water for his family and community and we discussed the logistics of implementation. He voiced concerns about installing the system as quickly as possible because of all the flooding his community experiences in the rainy season, saying, “I am worried because it has been almost a year since we had a functioning system in place, but now that I can see the CTI -8 chlorinator, I know that we can save money on the purchase of the chlorine and avoid transportation expenses to Managua. I have hope that we will be able to protect the population from contaminated water during rainy season from the contamination from the runoff waters that filtrate into the well right now.

After talking with Jairo, I explained and demonstrated the importance of the CTI-8 technology to the community, and the community approved the proposal to proceed with installation.

Now Jairo thanks Self-Help International and its water program for bringing this CTI-8 chlorinator technology to his community since this chlorinator is easier to handle than the previous system. “Before using this new technology of a CTI-8 chlorinator, we would spend almost $70 dollars per month for 20 pounds of granulated chlorine and travel expenses. Since the new installation, we only spend $5.17 every month to buy chlorine tablets because each tablet lasts approximately 12 days.”

Grinning, Jairo told me,“In addition to saving money, we are confident because the new system is working properly.  We can already see it improving the health of the population in Marlon Zelaya.”

The CTI-8 system technology helped the Marlon Zelaya community and individuals like Jairo in many ways, and it has the potential to save money and help similar communities across the globe.  Thank you for your continued support, which is enabling more communities like Marlon Zelaya improve their health. This life-changing work is only possible because of the compassion and generosity of supporters like you.

Marlon Zelaya

Marlon Zelaya’s 2,600 gallon water storage tank


Self-Help’s new system installed