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  • Gustavo Driau

Water means life. SEPEC-Peru repairing earthquake damaged wells

Sugar cane production in Peru has a dimension of exploitation and abuse for centuries, everywhere all around the world. Three communities were exploited, abused, and destroyed because sugar cane exploitation: indigenous people, enslaved Africans, and Chinese in servitude. The sugar cane workers suffered for a long time from continuous exploitation and harassment. Sugar cane made many people and countries rich, but it leaves the people of the sugar cane villages very poor. This is the case of San Antonio Pomalca, in Peru.

On August 26, 2019, an earthquake of intensity damaged homes, public buildings, and infrastructure facilities In the village. In the poorest sectors, the greatest damage was in water wells.

In San Antonio Pomalca, one of the cruelest faces of poverty is the lack of access to basic services such as water. Villagers do not have a minimum drinking water supply service. The service is only two effective hours a day. In COVID-19 times the lack of water is fatal. Water is a right and an essential asset to prove the reproduction of life, and its care becomes more evident in times of COVID-19. Lack of water prevents the recommendation of hand washing and the hygiene necessary to avoid the spread of this disease, in addition to other consequences of increased infectious and parasitic diseases, diseases of the digestive system and the respiratory system.

COVID-19 brought a lot of poverty to the village because there is no job for people who earned their lives in the informal economy. 90% are independent workers, that is, they do not have a fixed salary, but they are looking for it day by day, with this situation, those who have been poor are now in extreme poverty.

In San Antonio Pomalca, just like in the time of Jesus, water was something people had to think about a lot.

SEPEC-Peru together with Pastor Merci Gómez from the Lutheran Church of San Antonio Pomalca has implemented a recovery project for four water wells with LDR funds, with the accompaniment of ELCA / Global Mission / Latin America Desk

SEPEC-Peru is an ELCA/Global Mission companion organization. They implemented this project of access to safe water, education and capacity building for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH)

In the settlement "El Mango," in San Antonio Pomalca, Don Eduardo Flores lives with his family of 12 people between adults and children. They are a vulnerable family; but always dressed in a lot of hope, even living without water and electricity.

They had a water well approximately 3 meters deep to cover their water needs, but they always had collapsed for not having concrete walls. Neighbors make use of the water well also.

In November 2019, SEPEC was able to rebuild four wells giving depth and making concrete and iron walls. The wells have brought the village to life. Water is a right but always violated.

It is enough to see people's smiles and expectations to feel how water brings new life.

The wells reconstruction improved water quality, without soil, stones, sticks, etc. The water is good enough to drink it and to wash clothes and all the vital activities. Water right changes the quality of life of families.

Currently, the reconstruction of these wells helps all the families who live in the hamlet "El Mango," they do not have to buy water or load buckets of water from another place. Water is a right, and the community is happy.

Every three months the villagers organize to clean the earth well, since keeping the water clean is of utmost importance for everyone, this support helps to affirm the ties and strengthen community work for the common good.

Families are grateful for the help and for allowing them to improve their quality of life. Similarly, Pastor Merci Gómez thanks ELCA and the families of the hamlet "El Mango," for working together and generating a better life with love for God.

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