Dozens of members of the United Communities for Life and Water ('CUVA' in Spanish) Coalition gathered together on September 15th in San José del Carmen to celebrate the completion of 15 rainwater harvesting systems in eight different communities with Caminos de Agua since July of this year.
As a key partner of Caminos de Agua, CUVA represents 21 rural communities in a region severely impacted by water contamination and scarcity. Together, we have built 64 large-scale rainwater harvesting systems since 2015.
Padre Juan Carlos Zesati led the ceremonies with more than 100 community members in participation, nearly all women representing most of the communities working with CUVA, to bless the systems built in San José del Carmen. The crowd of people made their way through the community and stopped at each home so families could “cut the ribbon” on their new rainwater harvesting systems. The recipient families thanked their neighbors for spending hundreds of hours helping them build their systems before convening at the community center to celebrate.
Community members from Rancho Nuevo, La Onza, and other communities danced and sang songs they wrote and prepared specifically for this occasion. They sang about working and organizing together to solve their water issues while thanking all who have supported this work. The theme flowing through the songs of “we need to build more systems” was not lost on the Caminos de Agua’s staff present. Representatives from San José del Carmen presented gifts and acknowledged the efforts of community organizer Lucha Villafuerte who has built CUVA and has been its driving force since the beginning, Padre Juan Carlos Zesati for his continued dedication to the rural communities throughout the region, and several individuals from the Caminos de Agua team.
The 15 systems completed with Caminos de Agua were made possible by friends and family who, in lieu of giving gifts, generously donated to “Pilar & Dylan’s wedding fundraiser” held by Caminos de Agua’s Executive Director Dylan Terrell and his wife Pilar Quintanilla Martinez on their wedding day in late April, 2017.
Dylan was visibly moved by the event:
“It's been a pretty incredible day. About 100 women, and a handful of men, from more than a dozen different communities came out. It's been really special. One of those days that makes you feel like we're doing something right. We’re just a small part in a beautiful process these communities are taken forward. Both humbling...and just fun...yeah...really good day.”