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No Longer the Forgotten Place

When Maria Lopez moved in with her husband’s family, she learned that the residents called their community "El Olvido" – The Forgotten Place. They needed water. They felt neglected and forgotten.

"I had come from a place where there was plenty of water. But here there was no place to bathe or even drink," Maria explained. "The children were the ones who suffered the most. At times they went hungry because there wasn’t the water to cook food properly."  

This town in San Antonio de Cortés, Honduras, had a rudimentary water system that provided minimal water services to four families, but that was 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. Others would buy water from another town, but it was costly and still burdensome to bring the water back home.

"This solution wasted time and made it difficult to prosper," Maria shares. "We were spending all our money on the most basic substance – water."

Maria realized how dire the situation around her was. She wouldn’t let her family continue to live without water. So, gathered her neighbors and established a group committed to addressing their water concerns.

"You have to fight to make things happen until you see a change," Maria said.

The group ran into roadblocks, unable to make headway in reaching out to groups and government departments. Finally, a connection with the Water For People team in Honduras led to progress.

"It was as if they were waiting for us there," Maria shared. "Eight days after asking Water For People for help they came with technicians to make measurements. They said they’d be back in a month, and sure enough, they were."

Water For People helped with the materials, engineers, and contractors, but the community still needed the support of the mayor and district government to ensure the long-term sustainability of the initiative through financing and maintenance. Around this time, a new candidate who was sympathetic and understood the seriousness of the crisis ran and was elected mayor. Water For People also facilitated the connections and support from the district government, and the community members helped establish the water system.

Water For People’s commitment to Everyone Forever means no one is left behind – no community should think of themselves as forgotten.

Massive changes have come to this town. People are relaxed, smiles come easier. Children are happier, healthier, and miss fewer days of school. Neighboring children dart around Maria’s home and laughter is in the air. The community feels connected, hopeful.

Maria vowed she wouldn’t have another child if the village didn’t have water. At the time of writing this, she is now expecting her second child. "He will have a different life than my first son," she shares. "I didn’t want to have another child who would come to this community and have to suffer."

"I would tell people to keep on fighting for water, for what gives us life," Maria shares passionately. "And if you see the chance to fight to help people who are struggling, fight with all you’ve got."

Thanks to Maria’s fierce commitment, the collaboration of the local government, the community’s belief in something better, and the support from Water For People, the town has transformed.

Instead of The Forgotten Place, the town is called "Nueva Esperanza" – New Hope.

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