Impact Tour reflection

by Jamie Gough

DAY 1 Today I flew into Trujillo and went straight to the hotel to get some rest. I met most of the group for lunch and we all introduced ourselves. After lunch we went for a walk around the city. Later that evening I was able to meet the rest of the group.

DAY 2 We started out the day at the archeological site of the Moche people. Our tour guide showed us around the museum, and we were able to see many samples of pottery that were found at the site. We then toured the Temple of the Moon, which was used for ceremonies by the Moche people. It was amazing to see how well some of the wall paintings were still so colorful and intact.

DAY 3 Today was a day jam packed with information. I was able to visit the local Water for People office and then we went to a conference center where we were introduced to all of the Peru team. The Peru team gave a very informative presentation on how their program functions and the projects that they are working on. The Peru team goal is to have 100% sustainability for all of the communities where they’re implementing water projects. They currently have projects in the mountain regions and will be working on the coastal and rain forest communities in the future. The communities are taught the importance of hygiene and sanitation and how to maintain their water systems.

After lunch we met with some city officials, including mayors, members of the ATM (district water and sanitation office), education board members, and local JASS members (community members in charge of the local water system). They described the importance of what the Water For People team is doing and the impact it has on the communities. In 2011, only 30% of people in the district of Cascas had access to water. By 2016 Water For People was able to get access to 70-75% of people and they are working toward their goal of 100%.

DAY 4 Today we left Trujillo and travelled to the Cascas district. Many of the communities in Cascas are pretty remote up in the mountains and the roads were a little nervewracking at times. Our first stop was at a small school. The children, teacher, and principal had prepared some songs for us, including one they had written about taking care of the environment. The school had won awards for the efforts they have made in water conservation education. They showed us the new bathroom and handwashing facilities at the school and gave a demonstration on proper hand washing techniques by the children.

Later that afternoon we travelled to very remote community. The bridge there had been damaged so we had to walk a short distance to get there. This community does not have its own water system. It was sharing a system with three other communities and only had water available for a few hours every three days. There was one tap for the community were families filled jugs and carried them to their homes to be rationed out until the next time they had running water. They expressed their need for better water access and how they really need Water For People help to achieve this.

DAY 5 The morning was spent at another local school. This school was much larger than the first we visited. The students prepared a presentation for us where they sang native songs and played instruments. A student also talked about the impact that the Water For People programs had on their community and school. Before officials had stepped in, the school had an attendance problem. The water at the school was tested and was positive for coliforms. Officials then came to the school and taught the families the importance of boiling their water for consumption. Since then, children had started bringing bottled water with them to school and attendance has improved. The school had also won many awards for its water conservation and education programs. The students are learning the importance of recycling and taking care of their environment. Female students modeled outfits that they had made out of recyclable materials such as plastic bags, paper products, plastic silverware, and plastic bottles.

After the school visit we met with a local community and members of the water committee (JASS) in charge of their water system. The committee showed us the water reservoir and how they maintain and check chlorine levels in the community. JASS members showed us their facilities and talked about how they got the community involved and how they operate the system.

We were also shown the water source, which was a mountain spring. After seeing the spring, we then travelled back to Trujillo and met with Water for People staff for a farewell dinner.

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