Water Is Everything

Stephanie Mitchell, a University of Incarnate Word nutrition professor on our immersion trip, is very concerned about water quality and how that can bring health or disease. She had a conversation with the director of a school in the rural outskirts of Chimbote, next to a preschool where Incarnate Word Missionary Selena Mitchell works and where Women’s Global Connection volunteers painted a mural with local artist Richard Jon Castaneda Estrada.

 The principal explained that the school has water piped there but the people in the little neighborhood behind it don’t have regular water service. So the water from the school runs to a hose which is in the middle of the houses. There each family can get some of the water. You can see a water container on the top of the house. He further explained that often the weekly water runs out and for two days people will not have water.


The people sometimes wash their clothes in the irrigation ditch across the street from the school. The school has outdoor toilets that can be flushed and have a septic tank. This is about 30 ft from the irrigation ditch. 

Unfortunately many people throw their trash around and in the irrigation ditch. The people there don’t necessarily boil the water. They are just eager to have water.


There is a song which has been come become famous in the women’s movement and it is called Bread and Roses. The women who were striking so that they would have better work opportunities said we need both bread and Roses. We need both what is necessary and what is beautiful. The children of the school touch our hearts. The people at the neighborhood that we talked to were kind and happy to have us there. May we be able both to bring them the necessary water that is clean and also beauty in the mural that we painted  for the preschool. 


Stephanie is in contact with a group called 33 buckets. They will be in the Trujillo area in July and she has persuaded them to also come to Chimbote. She is taking samples and testing the water from a number of different places. Then she will send them what she discovers in these water test. They will do more extensive testing and see if this area qualifies for their program. The program would bring water filters to families. One of her plans is to investigate  grants to fund these water filters. If people could only see the extensive poverty of the families living here and how precious their children are, they would want to be partners helping to get clean water to this extremely needy area.

By Sr. Martha Ann Kirk


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