On Sunday March 9th, we set out for the beautiful department of Huehuetenango to celebrate the inauguration of another successful water system, this time in the community of Tuicicán. Teaming up with partner organization PEILE along with dedicated local government and community leaders, Miracles in Action has helped ensure consistent water access for Tuicicán’s 130 geographically-dispersed families after an arduous six months of planning and construction.
Tuicicán’s struggle for clean and consistent water dates back much further than that however. A particularly tight-knit community, Tuicicán’s local leaders recognized the importance of water long ago, protecting the area’s primary springhead and installing a basic pump over forty years ago. Despite the community’s best efforts to maintain the existing water system over the years, local population growth and increased demand long ago surpassed the original pump’s capacity, leaving families without water for days at a time. With little to no rainfall for six months out of the year and growing consumption, many communities in this arid highland region were finding the search for water more and more challenging each year.
With families spread out over several peaks and valleys typical of the region, a high-powered pump and improved distribution network was deemed necessary in order to provide a steady water flow to family’s homes. This community’s exceptional unity and willingness to work hard resonated with us during our first visit to Tuicicán, but it was a speech from a local community leader that left the team inspired and committed to making a difference.
“Water is life, without water we having nothing…” related the elder statesman at the time, urging the entire community to collaborate in the project and take care of their prized resource for future generations. Leaders from PEILE recall seeing children and grandparents alike lugging construction materials down into the valley, only rarely stopping to take a break. The completed project includes two separate holding tanks complete with filtration equipment, a good-quality diesel pump and high-grade piping to help carry their spring water miles over the hills and into each and every family’s home. After the long wait, life with water access could resume.
Hundreds of people gathered for the dedication and to celebrate the culmination of partnership, persistence and hard work. There were fireworks. There was food. There were smiles. There was music and dancing. But most importantly there was life-giving water again in Tuicicán.