When Maria Lopez decided to move in with her husband’s family to the rural community of Nueva Esperanza in San Antonio de Cortés, Honduras, the residents there were on the verge of naming it “El Olvido”- the forgotten place. They needed water and weren’t getting the support they needed from the government. They felt neglected and forgotten.
“I had come from a place where there was plenty of water,” Maria explained. “Here there was no place to bathe or even drink water. The children where the ones who suffered the most. At times they went hungry, because they did not have the water to properly cook their food.”
Nueva Ezperanza had a rudimentary water system that could provide minimal water services for four families, but nowhere near enough for the whole community. During the summer when water was scarce, the residents would have to make an hour trek up to three times a week to the nearest stream to fetch water and clean their clothes. Others would buy water from the closest town, but it was costly and burdensome to bring the water back to their homes.
“This solution would waste time and made it difficult to prosper,” Maria shares. “We were spending all our money on the most basic substance – water.”
When she realized how dire the situation was, Maria met with her neighbors and created a committee that would address water concerns. She started as the secretary, but soon became the committee leader.
To add to her responsibilities, Maria also had a baby with health complications around the time she started the committee. However, she knew that to improve her community and her baby’s wellbeing she would have find the help necessary for Nueva Esperanza.
“You have to fight to make things happen until you see a change,” Maria said.