We often speak of the goal to empower communities to provide clean water for a generation – but a visit with the Hernández family in Estancia de la Virgen, Guatemala challenged us to think bigger. Within this single family, four generations experience the blessings of clean water.
Upon our arrival at their simple, concrete home, the family matriarch Doña Berta Morales greeted us in her quiet way, while her great niece Joselyn Hernández introduced us to their family. Present were Joselyn's younger sister Marta and two sons Diego and Daniel. Absent was Joselyn’s mother who was away from the home working that day.
With the sun warming the laundry on the lines and the hammocks strung between the porch posts, we began to talk about clean water.
Joselyn started her story by telling us how much better their lives were since receiving water from the Living Waters for the World water purification system at the Templo Evangelico Presbiteriano Nueva Jerusalem. “It has helped us a lot. This water is more purified, and the children don’t get sick from their stomach anymore.”
We asked if the children were able to attend school more often. She replied, “Before they use to say, ‘I have a stomach ache. I don’t want to go to school.’ They did have pain, but now they don’t have pain anymore. They go to school more often; they do not get sick often.” Doña Berta added, “There is no other water like this. This is better. Thank you, oh Lord!”
As our conversation continued, it became clear that young Daniel was as healthy and spirited as any child his age. He squirmed in his seat atop one of the family’s three five-gallon jugs of clean water and popped a candy in his mouth as a pleasant distraction. Joselyn continued, “We have been drinking this water since more than 3 years ago, and we use it for cooking, for drinking. This water is for all of us.”
Joselyn took us to their outdoor wood stove on which a pot boiled. She and Doña Berta wanted to show us how they use the water to prepare foods that keep their family healthy and strong. We meandered back over the porch to find Daniel smiling at us from the hammock, clearly feeling playful.
As we closed our visit Joselyn said, “We thank you a lot, because if it was not for the donations, we could not be drinking this purified water. We thank you a lot because our children are healthier; they are going to school more; there are no illnesses. Thank you so much.”
We had the privilege of visiting with the Hernández family, but their thanks belongs to Living Waters for the World’s supporters, in particular the team from Suffolk Presbyterian Church of Suffolk, VA that partnered with Templo Evangelico Presbiteriano Nueva Jerusalem to install the water system. Thanks to the contributions of many, four generations of one family have been transformed.