A Journey For Water

June 21, 2012 • Bolivia

By Gabriel Santos, civil engineer in Bolivia

Eustaquia Sinka and her husband Silverio Copa live with five of their seven children in the small community of Kjary Baja, about 100 kilometers from La Paz city.

Sinka received support from Samaritan’s Purse to help her build a well recently, and she expressed her sincere gratitude to me when the request was approved and the construction began.

“For as long as I can remember, finding clean water has always been a problem for us,” she said. “As a child, we used to draw it from a nearby spring that we shared with a number of families. One year, we had a really bad drought that dried up our source. The men dug deeper to find more water, but even with that, there wasn’t enough. I remember having to wake up as early as 3 a.m. to go fetch water because I knew if I got there later it would all be gone. We suffered a lot.

“Eventually”, she explained, “due to the lack of water and forage, we had to move to another location near a river. This improved our situation for washing clothes and watering crops, but the water was still not clean enough for drinking and cooking. Eventually, my husband dug a really deep well behind the house. This helped us for a little while, but it soon caved in because the dirt was soft. He dug it out again only to find it caving in a few weeks later.

“After a while, we started getting water from one of our friend’s wells. While this helped us out, it was also tiring because it took us over an hour to fetch it. To make things worse, his well ran out of water really fast, so he never wanted to give us very much. Sometimes he rejected our request all together.

“Nevertheless, we continued making the sacrifice because we needed water to drink and cook.”

Once Sinka and her family found out they were receiving a well from us, they worked together to build it. I helped provide technical direction and some of the materials, including the cement, rebar, and molds. As a cost share, the family contributed local materials and the labor. They brought sand over in wheelbarrows, dug the well, mixed the concrete, poured the molds, and so forth. They had a great time working as a family.

“After all our suffering, I am very happy because we got help from Samaritan’s Purse to build a well,” Sinka said. “I no longer have to worry about the well caving in because it is reinforced with concrete rings. It also has a manual pump which makes it easier for us to get water for ourselves and for the animals. With this well, my eyes are now open to what the future might bring. I can now keep my children clean, prepare food with clean water, and increase fodder production with irrigation. I am very grateful both to God and to Samaritan’s Purse for the work that was done.”