This is a transcript of an interview between FH staff member Coraly Usnava and Arsenio Ignacio Salinas, a husband and father in a very poor, mountainous community in Peru. I love to read it and imagine the scene — the smile, maybe some birds chirping and kids running around. Oh, how I take for granted my sinks and shower at home….
Coraly: “Hello, Arsenio, how are you?”
Arsenio: “Very well, miss.”
“Are you busy?”
“No, I just returned from my fields to see how my palm trees [for palm oil] are doing, and they’re ready to harvest.”
“I see. you have a nice house.”
“And how is business in your store?”
“It’s slow, but we make some sales. Now that people are putting pipes and spigots in their houses, we’re selling more of them.”
“Great. And are you connected to the water system?”
“Yes. Some times ago, my wife, my children and I got up early to dig and lay pipe [for the spigot in the yard].”
In Peru, more than six million people lack access to clean water.
FH is helping change this.
“And when the water came out the first time, how did you feel?”
“Incredibly happy, hard to describe. I ran to my kitchen to bring buckets to fill, hollered, ‘We have water! We have water!’ I called my neighbors so they could collect water, too; they all ran to their houses to get their containers to fill. Everyone was very happy. I really thought the water was going to be dirty and smell, but it wasn’t. I was surprised when it came out clear and sweet, with no odor.”
“I can see that you’re happy, and soon you’ll have a spigot inside your house.”
“Yes, miss, because it was hard to carry water from the spring or pay someone three soles (about $1) in the morning and again in the evening to bring water. We spent so much on water. Now, we will have water not only in the kitchen, but also in the shower, and my kids can’t wait to use the shower.”
“How many years have you been waiting for this?”
“We’ve been waiting here for nine years. Imagine, it took all these years to get good water.”
“Thank you for your time.”
“You’re welcome. Thank you, and thanks to the church in the United States for making water available here, and all the other things they have done for the children and the people of our community.”