Say Cheese!

I snapped this photo as I was being swarmed by a pack of school boys on a playground in rural Nicaragua, where Cross Catholic is working with Amigos for Christ to build clean water systems for the poor.

The kids love to have their pictures taken, and they love to see their extreme close-up shots on the digital display. (It makes me wonder if the disciples were doing a photo shoot when Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them.”) And just like the boys you’ll meet anywhere else in the world, they like to get into mischief, compete for attention, and hurl harmless projectiles at moving targets (such as the back of my head!).

But then there is the reality of what these children are facing at home. Poverty. Thirst. Waterborne-disease. As one local school administrator told me, “They can’t focus. They can’t process things. There are times when they’re in the courtyard singing and they just faint.”

School boys on a playground in rural Nicaragua

School boys on a playground in rural Nicaragua.

The problem? Water scarcity. They need water to drink, water to bathe, and water for a good harvest. When they do find water, it is often so contaminated that it makes them sick. Diarrhea and dehydration can be a lethal combination, depriving their vulnerable bodies of the water and nutrients they desperately need.

By bringing water, we are changing everything. The children’s diet and health will improve, their energy will increase, their academic performance will be better than ever, and their natural competitiveness can be directed toward achieving their dreams and escaping the cycle of poverty.

-Tony M.