Hydromissions returned to Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro in Panama, where they drilled a well in March 2014. On this project, Hydromissions was going back to the same community of about 80 Ngobe villagers. During their first trip, the team found out that the village did not have a bathroom facility. Everyone practiced open defecation in the mangroves (swampy) areas of the village. According to WHO, 1.1 billion people practice open defecation worldwide. The health risks with that practice are extreme, especially when combined with an area where they do not have basic hygiene practices (i.e. don’t wash their hands).
Hydromissions met with the community leader to determine the tasks that would be shared among the volunteers. The team knew the objective was to build a latrine for the community to use, however having the members of the village involved is important for sustainability. The project has to be as much their plan as possible so they take ownership and maintain it after the Hydromissions team leaves. A plan was set for a large septic tank to be installed with a leach pit. The wood for the structure was to be provided by the community (the main source of income for these particular families is cutting wood so it was an easy part for them to contribute). Hydromissions would provide the tank, toilets and pipes necessary for the project. While working on the bathroom facility, hygiene classes were also implemented with the community. Tippy-taps are hands-free hand-washing stations and each family learned how to build their own tippy-tap. The Wood family (American missionaries) was the connection to these Ngobe villages, so the Hydromissions team worked together with the Woods to serve the needs of the people. It is important for Hydromissions to partner with Christians (pastors, national NGOs, missionaries, etc) that are serving in an area full-time. We support their ministry by providing the technical aspects of water and sanitation, while they continue to serve the spiritual needs on a long-term basis.
Community Latrine Project
Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro, Panama
Correspondence with the Wood Family (missionaries)
latrine, septic tank, tippy-taps, hygiene classes. September 2014
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