It was time to celebrate at the spring in Agua Fría this week. After months of hard work, not to mention interruptions and delays caused by a volcanic eruptions and a tropical storm, the work to improve the spring which supplies water to around 260 people was completed. The community organised the inauguration ceremony in collaboration with the local Mayor’s office which provided the refreshments. Nearly 200 people were there to hear the Deputy Mayor and community leaders express their thanks to the Nuevas Esperanzas team and all involved in the project for all their hard work.

Nuevas Esperanzas Director, Andrew Longley congratulated the community on their efforts and took the opportunity to acknowledge the important roles of five members of our team: Donaldo and Justo, the building supervisors, Arturo, the civil engineer, Yamil, responsible for logistics and Rolando, whose focus is the social aspect of the project including community participation. Andrew also commented that the success of this project had been achieved by everyone working together, and that the more the community can do this, the further their efforts will go. He was pleased to announce the news of funding for the construction of more rainwater harvesting tanks in the community next year.

The developments at the spring have transformed a water source which used to dry up over the long summer months into a valuable resource for the community. For as long as these families take care of it, there will be good supply of drinking water flowing from the taps in the water collection area as well as a trough for animals to drink. The storage tank can hold 16,000 litres of water and will fill up at night to ensure that supply during the day is no longer a problem. The spring itself and the storage tank have been covered and sealed. The inspection hatches are padlocked to ensure that this precious source of water is protected and cannot be contaminated. Steps have been built down to the collection area and five taps fitted in the retaining wall. The overflow from the storage tank flows into a trough from which animals can drink. The trough is on the opposite side of the path from the taps where people collect water. This is a huge improvement on the unhygienic conditions of the past when animals and humans mixed together in the mud in front of the spring before dipping dirty buckets into the spring itself to collect water. The deputy Mayor particularly congratulated the project engineers on designing the site around a young mango tree which provides shade at the water collection area as well as making the area feel like a garden. For the moment, some community members have improvised a shower cubicle with some plastic sheets at the end of the water collection point. Funding permitting in the future it is hoped that a more permanent washing area could be constructed.

The spring at Agua Fría is set in a beautiful location which forms a natural amphitheatre around the covered tank which acted as the stage for this opening ceremony. The way people have worked together and participated in the work on this project is a cause for celebration and hopefully in the future a lot more projects can be undertaken in the community.

The Nuevas Esperanzas team as well as the whole community are grateful to the Oxford León Association for funding this project.

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12/12/11