Friday, October 15, 2010


When I first arrived in Nicaragua I was ambivalent about drinking the tap water. Before departing I had dutifully gone to the travel clinic where I updated all my shots and of course got thoroughly warned about all of the exotic sicknesses that can be contracted in Latin America. Many of these sicknesses can be acquired by drinking contaminated water. In the Manna house I noticed that the old PDs were drinking from both the tap and a purified water jug. I asked around about this and learned that the tap water in Managua is reportedly treated the same way that tap water is in the United States. So, the argument here has been that maybe the water won't make you sick now, but in ten years or so maybe then you'll start seeing the consequences. In response to that worry I went to asked about drinking tap water in Managua to Amira to which she replied, "I've been here for 10 years and I've been drinking the tap water and I'm fine." Nonetheless, this does not carry off to outside of Managua, where bottled water is a must.
During my first two weeks in Managua while I was signed up for intensive Spanish school, I did a homestay. During my homestay I quickly learned something about the water realities for the people and families living in Managua, that most nights at around 6pm the water is turned off. After the water is turned off they use barrel that is filled during the day to flush the toilet, wash dishes, etc. There were many a nights were I would return from a day of 4 hours of Spanish school and an afternoon of exploring the city to a big bucket of water for a shower. Don't get me wrong, at that point I was thankful to be able to get clean. But, that experience got me thinking, if the water is regulated and restricted in such a way in the main city, what is it like for people living in more rural areas? After a little bit of research I've learned that there are many pueblos (villages/neighborhoods) that still do not have safe drinking water, not only in rural areas of Nicaragua, but in Managua too. Many of the community members that we work with in Cedro Galan and La Chureca don't have working toilets or running water. Without a proper sewage system, human waste will often contaminate water in the surrounding neighborhood, leaving the inhabitants permanently with parasites and in a weakened state.
Although Managua is on the right track with proper water sanitation with tap water, it still has a lot more development that needs to take place in order for all of Nicaragua's inhabitants to have access clean and safe drinking water.

Principe(or Prince in english) here, like many Nicaraguans,
has no choice but to drink untreated groundwater

the floods in La Chureca contaminate the roads and water
with harmful parasites and bacteria

To learn more about Blog Action Day and what you can do to help give the world access to clean water
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