Can young people really change their communities? Can they spur on generational change to impact their country, their world? Absolutely! Two months ago 15 teenagers in the small community of Loma Bonita, nestled in the outskirts of Tuxtla, Chiapas, Mexico, did something that had never been done in their community. With the support of their church, they led a health fair for 60 younger children in their area.
Over 7,000 people live in Loma Bonita and before the installation of the water project, most residents had to drink contaminated water from the city pipes, unable to afford clean water being sold at an extremely high price. Loma Bonita served as a hotbed for something that we should never be okay with—waterborne illness. Thousands of kids in the community were dealing with all-too-common and all-too-solvable illnesses that clean water could help eradicate. Loma Bonita is not ok with this and neither are we.
Another aspect of our holistic WASH model is being well-adopted in Loma Bonita—Health and Hygiene Education. The women of Loma Bonita were trained on proper hand washing, how to clean fruits and vegetables, and how to identify contaminated water. These women are serving as a catalyst for the Health and Hygiene knowledge and behavior change in Loma Bonita and they’re seeing the benefit it is having on their lives and the rest of the community. During the health fair, the community was educated on the impact that proper hygiene can have on their lives and were given information to take back to their families. Evidence of buy-in among the local people is palpable in Loma Bonita.
The clean water project at the church in Loma Bonita is now producing 12,000 gallons of clean water a month and is providing 749 members of the community with clean water at a price they can afford, and ensuring there is a sustainable source of safe water for years to come. The burden of drinking dirty water is gone and the church has a tangible gift to share the love of Jesus with everyone in their community.
Whether it’s bringing a clean water system to better serve their community or leading a health fair, true and lasting change comes when it is community lead. Loma Bonita is a perfect example of the inspiring change that takes place when a church comes together and says, “let’s do Kingdom work and make waterborne illness history here!”
Our team has noticed a beautiful thing as the groundwork is being laid to saturate Mexico with clean water—communities like Loma Bonita exist all over Chiapas and Oaxaca. Communities who have no access to clean water and are tired of seeing their loved ones die from waterborne illness. Communities who are ready to see how Health and Hygiene Education can improve their lives. Communities that need to experience God’s love through their physical needs being met. Communities that, without your investment, may never get access to affordable safe water.