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Water for all! The strength of hope

April 11, 2020

Three years ago, in a small municipality within the immense map of Venezuela. A small hope arose to recover the water that would encourage the life and health of 4 sectors that had not seen the precious liquid flowing through their pipes for more than 6 years.

This desire led the Daughters of Jesus Community, which has been living in these sectors for 19 years, to initiate the first dialogues with the Community Council of María Alejandra and, in turn, the first contacts were made with a Spanish Energy and Water Agency that finances projects in vulnerable communities.

Likewise, the first dialogues and community assemblies were held to propose the project and decide together if we were willing to take on the challenge and all that it would entail in terms of work and service to the community. Many people were encouraged, the community council offered the land to build the well and the whole community was willing to collaborate with labor.

Up to there everything seemed very easy and we almost touched with our hands the water that would come out in our houses. But, no dream comes true, without first strengthening the faith, hope, will and fraternity. And difficulties began to arise. The land offered by the communal council was invaded by a family that refused to leave; the legal process that had to be done involved the communal council and it was unwilling to do so. The Agency’s time was running out and it was not possible to comply with the requirements they requested and therefore the project was aborted.

However, a small group remained, a “remainder” that never lost hope and that in active silence continued to dream of life for all the sectors that make up this community accompanied by the Early Childhood Pastoral and the FASFI Foundation. And when someone approached the neighborhood or a volunteer came to get to know this small Kingdom of God, spontaneously the subject of water would come up, either because there was none or because of the miracle of its appearance in a tanker truck honking deafening horns and snatching from the hands of the few reals that the family had to eat.

Many of those who were witnesses offered their help and we always asked for valves so that when we were able to see the water we could make a fairer distribution of it. Because some people found it and clogged it in their homes, denying them free circulation.

And time passed, our reality worsened and everyone settled for their individual solutions, until the PPI leaders made the RTS and then came the RETO PAÍS proposal.

In the exercises carried out with the leaders of the Pastoral, the craftswomen, the mothers of the Dining Room and the sponsored youth, Water once again emerged as our great community need; the desire to organize ourselves to find a solution and discover that we were also part of the problem surfaced once again. That we could not continue to look for culprits for our daily calamities. And that it was time to join in the search for solutions, to be able to demand with coherence; public policies that truly seek a more dignified life for ALL and not be satisfied with being adepts annulled in our wealth as citizens.

In this process, FUNDET visited our FASFI project of Accompaniment and Integral Formation for Families. They were impressed by the level of commitment of our community leaders and proposed to expand the nutritional canteen to 400 children. We explained that we did not have the logistical or human capacity to take on such a project and proposed that they support us in solving the water problem.

A month later they responded that they would support the community with the water solution. We started again the dialogues with the different communal councils, and we began to unite the economic means and the will to overcome the problem by weakening individualism.

A community council did not want to participate, at the beginning, but since an open assembly was held for all the communities and neighbors of that sector joined in, the community leaders also joined in, because without intending to, the community exercised the true communal power which is to PARTICIPATE, not to allow anyone to make us invisible. And so, with authority, he exerted positive pressure on his leaders and forced them to commit themselves to the pursuit of good without partisan mediation.

The first proposal was still to build a well in the María Alejandra sector, and the land was purchased next to the PPI’s nutritional dining room. Then the technicians said that there was not enough water table in María Alejandra to pump water for 4 communities and negotiations began with Hidrolagos to enable the old well that provided water to the community and that due to lack of maintenance had deteriorated and had not been pumping water to the communities for more than 6 years. Hidrolagos was willing to work with the company hired by FUNDET to execute the project, but could not make the decision without the Mayor’s approval. In our first dialogue with him, the mayor gave a negative answer to that option. Carlos Sanchez, a new meeting was held with the Mayor and he agreed to sign the permit for Hidrolago to allow PEGASUS, a private well company, to intervene.

So, having overcome the last obstacle, all the subjects involved started the task. FUNDET delivered the resources, HIDROLAGO and PEGASUS started the recovery of well 12 and the maintenance of well 19, the 4 community councils and the Christian community represented by the Daughters of Jesus and the FASFI projects started new assemblies with the whole community to design the water route and the points where the valves would be placed so that the water would reach all the homes.

Being in this process we were surprised by the worldwide warning of the Coronavirus as a Pandemic and aware that this virus is more dangerous without water we decided to continue working, and today we have the great joy of hearing the voices of joy throughout our streets… WATER HAS ARRIVED!!!!… THANK YOU GOD FOR GIVING US LIFE!!!!

But this is not the end. We still have a lot of work ahead of us. The training and awareness-raising phase to care for and purify water is now continuing. To encourage and continue to care for the true life that makes us a temple of the Spirit and that Jesus continues to pour into every heart, assuring us that He is the RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE!!!!

EASTER IS HERE IN ADVANCE. HAPPY RESURRECTION SISTERS

Sr. Matilde Polanco Álvarez FI
Villa del Rosario – Venezuela

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