Since the health fair was over, we could all focus on building latrines now. After surveying all of the families in Ciudad de Dios and figuring out which ones would most benefit from the installation of the latrine, we set to work. The families themselves did much of the digging (thanks goodness) as we were quite unfamiliar with the rough terrain. Digging through layers of solid rock proved much more difficult than we thought. We all became experts with a rock bar and discovered a new appreciation for mechanized devices used elsewhere in the world. Nonetheless, we worked at this hard labor, soliciting the help of members of the Ohio State group as well. We spent the days digging these holes – about two meters deep by .75 meters by .75 meters until it got time to lay the bricks.
Robby, Mateo, and Leopoldo all came to help out too, which was amazing since they were such skilled brick layers. Working in peoples’ yards beside their cows, chickens, goats, dogs, etc., we spent all day helping to build these latrines. But it all paid off and we completed eleven by the end of the week.
With the construction of these latrines, everyone in the community now has access to some form of latrine, and their sanitation will improve dramatically. There will be no need for anyone to defecate or pee around the community, and most importantly, it will not infect the water lines.
The end of our stay was rapidly approaching as we found ourselves at a goodbye party in Ciudad de Dios. The community kindly made us lunch and thanked us for our hard work. It was quite a rewarding experience for the entire group to see how grateful the community truly was for our work with them. While it is important for the community to agree on these projects and make them their own, they nonetheless recognize the crucial impact we have.
While farewells are always bittersweet, we waved goodbye to the community knowing that there was much more work to be done between them and MOCHE/Nourish in the future. Great capacity building over the past years has led to amazing relationships between our volunteer groups and the communities, creating a marvelous partnership to carry on for years to come, and the reassurance of continually improving public health for all these communities.
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