As she carefully tends the buds on her trees and feeds the animals she raises, it’s clear that soft-spoken Carolina Torrico is proud of her work. With bright eyes peeking out from under her flat-brimmed hat, Carolina waters her peach and apple trees and shows off her prized baby rabbits.
Three years ago, Carolina moved to the little town of Monte Monte in this quiet, secluded valley in rural Bolivia.
"I lived in a nearby community, then I got married and moved to Monte Monte," says Carolina. "But there was no water here."
Each day, Carolina would have to leave home at five or six in the morning to walk to the neighboring town and fill up a 20-liter bucket with water. Her two young daughters would go with her, helping her by carrying water in smaller bottles. Together they had to collect enough water each day to drink, bathe, and cook, but also to water the family’s trees and give to their animals.
"If I needed more that day, I would have to go back," she said. "I would often have to collect water multiple times each day to water my peach and apple trees."
Despite going to so much trouble to collect this water, it still wasn’t safe to drink, and Carolina says sometimes the water would make her daughters sick.
Carolina and a few others in Monte Monte were determined to have a safe water source for their own town. They walked to the mayor’s office in their district of Arani – a several mile journey along dusty mountain roads – to tell her that their community needed water. Because Carolina was at the forefront of promoting safe water for Monte Monte, the town elected her to be the secretary of the water committee that would oversee this initiative.
"It was a post I couldn’t refuse," Carolina said.
With support from the district government and Water For People, Monte Monte planned for a brand new water system. Since it was completed, Carolina and the 12 other families in the community have water whenever they need it – no more hours wasted walking to the neighboring town or days spent sick from drinking contaminated water. For Carolina and all of Monte Monte, having a safe water connection at their homes has been a big change.
"There is a huge difference," she says. "It’s much easier now. I can use water whenever I want, my daughters can bathe, and I can give water to the animals I raise."
Carolina is especially excited to expand her small farm. Her region is known for its peaches, and already she has been able to irrigate her trees more often and bring more produce to sell at nearby markets.
"My dream is to grow my farm and have more peach trees in a bigger plantation," says Carolina.
Carolina’s hard work to get water to Monte Monte has paid off. Her family is healthier, she’s gained back time in every day, and the little farm she loves so much is growing and providing for her daughters. Thanks to her hard work and the work of so many others like her, every family in her district has reliable water services and can look forward to a healthier and secure future.