“Now I only boil
water to make tea”
The air is hot and sticky as the afternoon temperature rises in the town of San Jose del Norte.
Isidora Calderon Vargas rests in the shade of her porch while her five-month-old son Abel naps inside. Sober-faced Isidora grew up in this small community in rural Bolivia. At age 35, you can see in her serious eyes that she faced more than her share of life’s difficulties.
"The father of my first son, he left to study," Isidora recalls, her expression betraying the sadness she still feels. "My desire was also to study, but I had my first baby so I couldn’t. He left me and then came back with another woman and another baby."
Isidora then met another man who she hoped would be a good step-father to her son, but he also left her while she was pregnant with her youngest son.
Left on her own to provide for her growing family, Isidora found work in the soybean fields surrounding the community of San Jose del Norte.
"It is the only thing I know how to do, to work with the soybeans," she says. "I worked hard and was able to get this field for a house."
Adding to the burdens Isidora faced as a single mother was having to spend an hour and a half each day carrying buckets of water from the single water source in the town for cooking, bathing, and drinking. She would lose valuable time she could be working or spending with her sons.
A few years ago, Isidora got a water tap installed at her home.
This was part of Water For People’s work to reach Everyone in the district of San Pedro in Bolivia with reliable water service – every single family, school, and clinic. But the progress doesn’t stop there. Water will flow sustainably for generations to come here as San Pedro, Bolivia now manages its own water system – the first district to reach our Forever milestone.
This means big changes for Isidora and her family.
"Water is a part of life, and without it we can’t live," Isidora says. "Now we are more at peace."
With more time to spend on the farm and with her children, and with the confidence that clean water will always flow from the faucet when she turns it on, Isidora simply doesn’t worry about water anymore.
"Now," she says, "I only boil water to make tea."
She says her children are thriving. "My youngest son, Abel, is like a frog in the water! He loves to bathe," she says with a wide and genuine smile. "That’s a luxury we did not have before the tap was installed at my house. Now, we feel lucky to bathe whenever we want. I guess it truly is the simple things in life that mean so much."
Now, water is at her fingertips and she has more time for the things that are most important in her life. More time with her family, and more time to provide for her kids’ futures. And more time to be at peace.