When Lupe Tapuy was raising her oldest child in the village of Machacuyacu, tucked into a lush bluff not far from the Napo River in the Amazon basin rainforest, he was constantly sick with stomach ailments.
They drew water for drinking and cooking from a nearby stream where they also bathed, which looked clean but contained parasites and bacteria. To Tapuy, 30, and the other 170 residents, illness was simply a part life spent raising yucca, cocoa and plantains while living in bare, wood-plank homes on stilts.
But the addition of a Medwater chlorinator and tank they requested, along with hygiene and sanitation education, have slashed illness from skin rashes and fevers to diarrhea, reducing absences from earning money in the fields and learning at school. The village is also using its rare safe water to draw ecotourists and raise incomes, leaders told Medwater’s Ecuadorian team during a visit today.
Tapuy, who waited for her husband Hugo to return with a bucket of safe water as she nursed her baby and prepared coconut bowls full of milky Chica, a fermented drink served to visitors, said her youngest child is now growing up free of waterborne illness. “Life was a lot harder when we didn’t have this water,” she said.
All this week, we’re chronicling the work of Medwater’s Ecuadorian team in field dispatches as we launch a new, $36,000 campaign to help five more indigenous Kichwa villages gain life-changing access to safe water in the remote Amazon basin. Follow along, and we’ll introduce you to people it’s helping – and those who need your help.
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