Oaxaca Wednesday: Right As Rain

Written by Plant With Purpose on May 19, 2010 in General

by Aly Lewis

With all the rain “El Niño” brought this year, it’s hard to believe we’re in a water shortage. But we are, here in San Diego and in many places around the world. In Oaxaca, Mexico recent drought has meant the loss of farmers’ crops, income, and livelihood. Already impoverished farmers are finding it even more difficult to feed and support their families. When I visited Plant With Purpose’s Oaxaca program last October, dead cornstalks and withered crop fields testified to the harsh drought and diminished harvests.

Today I’m happy to share with you how Plant With Purpose is teaming up with villages in Oaxaca to conserve water and improve their lives through a community cistern project. Plant With Purpose teaches communities how to build and maintain a cistern that collects and stores rainwater from a nearby roof. Families use the water primarily to nourish vegetable gardens during the dry season when there is otherwise not enough rainfall to raise any crops. This greatly improves families’ nutrition and income during the dry season. Families also use the water to wash dishes and clothes, to bathe and to drink.

I was going to tell you how great I think the cisterns are, but my friend, Don Claudio Hernandez, a farmer from the village of Monte Flor, can say it much better than I ever could. Listen to how Plant With Purpose’s cistern project has improved his life:

“This cistern has been a lot of help for my family. We do not suffer from lack of water. We have clean water all the time; I have shared water with my neighbors since it can get scarce in the community. They come to me and I share what I have. Many people asked me how did I construct the cistern, and I tell them “Plant With Purpose supplied the industrial materials and training, and we constructed and contributed materials we could find in the area.” They invited us to El Palmar, Nuxiño when we were constructing the first tank in this region. We went and saw how it was done.

This cistern has made people interested because they have seen the great benefit that it brings since it can store a lot of water compared with how we did it before. We used to use 200 liter drums or 20 liter buckets. Now we can store about 12,000 liters—for us this is a lot of water. We saw how it was constructed and it is very easy to build, so we don’t need masons.

We thank God for bringing people from Plant With Purpose to our communities, who help us improve our lives.”

To partner with Oaxacan families in this exciting project, click here.

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