LECHERÍA UPDATE JULY 2010
The Nutrition Program that was begun last summer is going strong. For the last year, the program has been monitoring the nutritional status of the children under age 5 yrs in the batey on a regular schedule through the Growth Monitoring Program. Children found to be malnourished are provided vitamins and a nutritional supplement called "Plumpynut" and they are monitored on a weekly basis through the Nutrition Progam. Many of the children we saw last year who were very malnourished have graduated from the program and are now chubby toddlers. Dr. John McClennan of Canada, who oversees this program, was down in the batey for 3 weeks with 3 students to add an Anemia protocol to the program and to study the barriers to attendance.
The Canadian team is also conducting a census of the number of families in Lechería. This information will really help when applying for project help from the government, NGO's and mission groups.
Jewelry/Sock Doll-Making brings many of the women of Lechería to the St. Luke Center weekly to use their creativity in this small "cottage industry". Cindy was able to pay the ladies from sales made in the U.S. this past spring. What a joy it is for them to receive money to buy food, medicine,clothes and shoes for their children and themselves! The women sent a huge "Gracias" to all those who are working so hard here in the US to support them.
Water is coming to Lechería!
A group from Texas was in the batey last week digging trenches and installing water lines to bring water from the town uphill down to Lechería! This helps the people in all parts of the batey receive water to their house on a more regular basis. Water is the #1 need for the people in this community. The large numbers of people coming to the clinic with fevers and parasites is largely due to the lack of water to safely and effectively wash hands and cook.
Since the water is not drinkable, a ceramic filter system was installed in one of the local churches. Water from here will be sold to the residents for 1/2 the price that it costs them to purchase from local vendors.
Unfortunately, funds ran out before the project could be completed and the water turned on. We are hoping for donations to come soon so that this vital project can be finished. $3000 will get enough piping to allow the water to be turned on. Another $3500 will allow the final piping to be laid in the front section of Lecheria. The residents living in this area are currently near a cistern and can more easily access water than the rest of the people.
The Move to Septic Systems:
The same Texas group installed 2 septic systems. These were connected to 3 "baños" each. The community wants to move from latrines to septic systems before the land area for becomes scarce for such installations. The residents living in multi-dwelling constructions will really benefit from this model because a toilet can be installed in the home instead of having a latrine outside.
Is "Roof Repair" feasible?
Many of the residents are asking about help with repairs of their tin roofs. Much of the tin used on the dwellings here had been previously used on some other structure; therefore, the pieces came with old nail holes. Or scraps have been put together to create a roof. Either way, there are many entry points for rain.
The logical solution would be to patch the roofs, but the wood beam are too weak to safely hold a person who could make repairs from above. We're looked into some possible repair techniques, but we have yet to come up with an easy and economical solution. Please post a comment if you have ideas.
The kids of Lechería are as creative as ever! "Doll-head baseball" and "dental-floss inner-tube repair" were just a couple of the innovative forms of thinking that we saw on this trip. Hearing child laughter is a real blessing to anyone visiting Lechería.