Follow the Leader

 In Updates from the field

Last spring, we followed San Popo (his considerable knowledge of his community a function of his age), and young Hamilton (his clear curiosity a function of far fewer years), navigating the paths and the hillsides of their home community of Pamkawas in Nicaragua’s remote Bosawas Biosphere Reserve.

They led us to their water source and to the community’s water system components – pump house, solar infrastructure, water tank – or rather what was left of each of them. With youthful optimism, Hamilton demonstrated the use of its various parts (rendered useless for water delivery) as a quasi jungle-gym.

On this tour of the carnage left in the wake of Hurricanes Iota and Eta in 2020 that left the community without a water system, we see not only what is (and what isn’t) – where the solar panels used to be, a pumphouse without a roof or a pump for that matter, solar panels mangled and twisted amidst the tall grass, a cracked and crumbling tank – but we also see what can be.

And with the outpouring of generosity by the EOS community during our Within Reach campaign last spring, over the months since, what can be has become a reality.

Your support has combined with the community spirit of men and women contributing sweat equity – trenching and hauling, painting and providing. And, critically, the members of the newly established water board have followed the lead of EOS, have participated in training, have put their knowledge into practice, have gained confidence, and have been entrusted by the people of Pamkawas to operate and maintain the restored community water system as their own collective water utility.

For the community by the community. 

The same Pamkawas water system tour would today feature solar panels, mounted expertly and positioned to maximize sun exposure, proudly powering the pump from which flows water to a waterproofed tank (rehabilitated and repaired and boasting a bright blue coat of paint).

Today, we would trail behind San Popo and Hamilton and the water board, following the distribution network as safe water flows with convenience and confidence from tap stands serving 79 homes and families, a health post, a church, and the local school.

Safe, treated drinking water. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As for Hamilton
Too young to actively participate, but too inquisitive to stay clear of the action, he and his generation are critical contributors of curiosity. Establishing sustainable safe water solutions means leading by example, and Hamilton is just the right age to watch and to learn, to emulate and to imitate, to follow the lead. Pamkawas is counting on him to do just that.

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