In December, I traveled to Peru to visit the four communities that currently participate in the Clorox Safe Water Project.
Before my trip, I had seen many photos of the people who live in the villages from my colleagues’ previous trips or through our videos (Bringing Safe Water to Tambogrande and Safe Water for Sara). These videos really gave me a clear image of what their lives and their days look like. Although I was a complete stranger to them, I felt I had already met them.
During my visit, I spent three days in the communities with two great people from our NGO partner, Prisma. They’ve been working with the communities from day one, so they have great relationships with the local authorities and with most of the families and have gained their trust.
The communities are thankful to have the Safe Water project
These communities usually use loud speakers to announce water delivery. This time they used it to announce Clorox’s visit — my visit.
Each community was expecting us; they were excited and thankful to have us there. For people living in remote communities like these, we are learning that it is quite unusual to have visitors from outside the area. The villagers seem sincerely touched that people outside the communities care about them, especially visitors from another country.
I was looking forward to sharing the videos we produced about the project, which featured many of them. The excitement on their faces was priceless. We visited several families, including those whose children were featured on the video, such as our dear Sara. Seeing themselves or their friends in the videos was a really special experience.
I also met many of the community promoters who help the families on water collecting days. These individuals have been trained by the Safe Water project, and they help keep the program alive. They understand the benefits of treating the water and help others use the dispensers correctly.
The most touching experience I had was when two promoters showed up to our meeting with food that they had specially cooked for us. This community in particular had experienced problems receiving water that week, but they found a way to prepare the best tamales verdes I’ve ever tasted.
It was refreshing to see that regardless of the hardness of the villager’s daily life, they are happy and satisfied with their life. Women were proud of their homes, their children and their role as mothers. These communities seem to embrace their life and their circumstances; however they now understand that they have some control over the quality of water that their families receive, which can help them keep their families healthier. We feel proud for providing this information and the tools to get there.
This trip was a reminder for me. So many people have very little in life when it comes to material things and even basic resources, yet they still find great joy in the things they do have — their family and their community.
— Andreina Febres is the project manager for the Clorox Safe Water pilot project. She works closely with Alexis Limberakis in the Clorox Eco Office and with PRISMA, the project’s local implementation partner in Peru.