I took the Crossroads team out to Isosog, a new area where we are just beginning to work. Isosog is still in the department of Santa Cruz, but in the province of Charagua near the border with Paraguay—a seven-hour drive through rough scrub brush country where there are dozens of Guarani Indian communities along the Parapeti river. The Parapeti is actually a dry sandy beach most of the year, but near the river bed we are able to drill water wells relatively easily.
People living in these communities have traditionally gotten drinking water from shallow hand dug wells, called norias in Spanish. Norias are almost always contaminated from human and animal waste seeping into the shallow water table. Most communities now have at least one deep well that was drilled by the government. Some communities even have water towers and water distribution networks. However, in community after community people say they receive water sporadically if at all from the distribution system because the local water coop does not have the money to buy diesel to operate the pumps. The majority of people walk long distances from their houses to the few wells with hand-operated manual pumps. Every morning and evening you can see columns of women and children waiting in line at wells, filling their containers, and lugging the heavy buckets and jugs back home so they can cook, wash clothes, bathe, and give water to their animals.
Agua Yaku uses a simple inexpensive drilling technique which now makes it possible for each family to have their own well. With the Crossroads team we drilled two wells in Yapiroa, a Guarani community of about 1500 people. While we were there church leaders compiled a list of the several dozen most urgently needed wells in the community: including schools, health posts, churches, wells centered around groups of houses, and isolated farms. We promised to come back as soon as we finish up a few other ongoing projects in other areas. Before we left Yapiroa word of our project reached the ears of other community leaders. Several leaders visited our project site to see how we were working. We promised to expand our project and to come drill wells in their communities as soon as possible. After a quick survey on Google Earth, we found dozens of communities in this area that also need clean easily accessible water. This week, we sent an Agua Yaku team back to Yapiroa and we will—with any luck—be drilling several wells a week, but (insert plea for financial support), we cannot continue too much longer as a project unless we receive more donations soon. If you like the work we are doing and have been thinking about supporting Agua Yaku, NOW IS THE TIME! Your donation will make a huge impact on the daily lives of these people living in this harsh dry environment. It costs about $500 to drill a well and install the casing, a filter, and a hand pump. Perhaps your family, church, or small group would like to sponsor one, or perhaps a dozen, wells in Bolivia.