Clean Water Improves the Health of Caracito Families

By Orlando Montiel Salas – Clean Water Program Officer

Justa outside of her home.

Justa is a member of one of the 46 families benefiting from clean water in the community of Caracito in the San Carlos municipality of Nicaragua. She arrived in the community in 1990 with her husband and two children – an 11-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.

“After we moved to the community, my family grew to include eight people – my husband, myself and our six chilrden. Now, there’s only two kids left at home,” Justa said.

“I remember how the water quality used to be poor. My kids got sick with diarrhea and vomiting, and there was no way to disinfect the water,” Justa said. “We drank from water sources that were totally crude and contaminated, but we had to drink it like that – it was all we had.”

“Then, an organization named ASODELCO came to our community to help build pipelines to supply more houses with water; but without chlorination, our community’s children continued to get sick,” Justa added.

Gilma, the nursing assistant in Caracito.

Gilma, the current nursing assistant in Caracito’s health post, used to see 15 to 20 cases of diarrhea per month and she saw two cases leptospirosis due to contaminated water that people were drinking.

She pointed out that the people who had the most problems were children because children are the most vulnerable to contaminated water.

Justa agreed and said that they asked ASODELCO to coordinate with another organization about coming and visiting the community to speak about water contamination.

“ASODELCO held meetings with families from the community to deal with thecontaminated water problem, and Mr. Segio Ríos, who works for the Ministry of Health, gave a presentation about the importance of water chlorination,” Justa said.

“Alongside ASODELCO, we contacted Self-Help International’s Clean Water Program Officer, Orlando, so that they’d be able to help us with chlorinating the water,” Justa said.

“Self-Help came to the community to do a test of the water to see how contaminated it was and to see how we could fix the problem,” Justa said.

Children at a community meeting in Caracito.

“Once Self-Help figured out that the water was contaminated, all the families of the community met and asked for Self-Help’s services through ASODELCO,” Justa said. “We sought Self-Help’s support in installing a chlorinator to disinfect the water that our community was drinking.”

“Now, it’s been two years that we’ve been using the chlorinator to eliminate water contamination,” Justa added. “The chlorinator was installed in a new pipe that ASODELCO built. The directors of our local Water and Sanitation Committee (CAPS) are in charge of putting chlorination tablets in it every eight days so that there is enough chlorination for the water every day.”

“I’m pleased and grateful that clean water improved the health of my community’s families. All the children are drinking chlorinated water which is free of microbes. This is a big deal, because they are healthier than they used to be,” Justa said.