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‘Now We Just Open the Tap’ — Bolivian Community Finally Gets Water Through Church’s Help

A tiny community in Bolivia now has a water source through the help of the Church, Water for People and one determined man



This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Mary Richards, Church News

Jorge Arnez is considered a hero in Saca Sirca, Bolivia, because of his determination to bring safe water to the tiny, spread-out community.

“Someday I will be able to die at peace,” he said. “Because I’ll know all the families here have water.”

Two years ago, Arnez got an idea to build a well that would provide safe water to the community.

Most people had wells at their homes — but they were usually shallow and prone to contamination from nearby pit latrines. After some time and a lot of work, Arnez was able to convince the others that having safe water would change their lives for good.

He started to work with district leaders, Water for People and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to build a new well.

Water For People is a nonprofit working around the world to equip communities with lasting access to clean water and sanitation services. The Church and Water For People began working together in 2014 to improve water, sanitation and hygiene services across nine countries.

The organization’s motto is “Everyone Forever.”

“When we say everyone, we mean all families, schools and health clinics,” said Kelly Honecker, director of principal gifts with Water for People. “And forever is all the other pieces to ensure that the access to water and sanitation services continue, long after Water For People’s intervention and without further aid support.”

Clean water is a priority for the Church’s humanitarian efforts. In 2022, the Church participated in 156 clean-water projects around the world. Initiatives focus on building sustainable solutions that promote self-reliance and dignity for all.

With the support from the Church and Water for People, all 31 families of Saca Sirca pitched in to help with construction of the new well.

The community of Saca Sirca, Bolivia. Water for People with support from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helped the residents build a new well. Photo courtesy of Water for People, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

They realized the soil wasn’t strong enough for the type of water tower they initially planned on building, So Arnez worked to make sure they could have electricity for a different kind of system.

“I traveled several hours and found a high-level manager in an electrical company,” he said. “I did everything I could. I talked with him, and a week later they were digging holes for electric poles. We got the electricity for the system.”

After solving that issue and two months of construction, the water system was finished. The community threw a big party to celebrate.

Arnez said there has been so much change because everyone now has access. He has more water to irrigate his crops. The children are cleaner and healthier and able to go to school. People even have showers in their homes for the first time.

“It’s unbelievable that now we just open the tap and have water,” Arnez said. “Seeing water come out of pipes in your own backyard — who could have imagined that?”

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