06 Jul Galeras
Galeras, Ecuador, population 300 or so, is one of the most rural communities gotten to know . Being isolated in the Amazon Jungle seems to contribute to a range of factors including low incomes, reduced levels of education and reduced awareness about concepts such as germ transmission. Miguel, the community health promoter is the driving force behind sustained WASH activity in the community.
MedWater has met with Miguel many times over the last 2 years and each time he is eager to learn and teach his community. Our week in Galeras, was difficult to say the least, at times there seemed to be little interest from many in the community, but each day Miguel and anyone who responded to the call of his conk shell came to training and participated. When the installation and training were complete, MedWater discussed the importance of covering and securing the water system thinking it may be a while before they can do this. However, to our surprise when we returned to Galeras less than a month later, Miguel and the CWC had completed a beautiful thatched shelter and built a fence around the safe water distribution site.
Yes, we were surprised and amazed! Even though the information and technology is simple it is not easy to change behaviors that have been practiced for generations. The collaborative MedWater model builds on the relationships of each partner and their role in helping the community. The long term presence of Timmy Global Health is a great foundation for helping communities help themselves. They want to improve the lives of their children. They are motivated to take care of the safe water distribution site. MedWater builds on this foundation, giving them the tools and encouragement that helps them understand new behaviors and begin to take responsibility for community health.