Jose Antonio Mejia, known as Toño to his neighbors in the community of El Boqueron, is a quiet and serious man. A 39-year old, hardworking father, Toño made the ultimate sacrifice this year…he gave up his job, the only money available to care for his family, so his children can have safe water.
We have been working with three very remote communities in Trojes, Honduras (the BBQ project). Prior to our work together, these three communities had no easy access to water. Families walked long, difficult distances to collect small amounts of contaminated water. There was no water for bathing. Children couldn’t go to school. Mothers struggled to prepare food and care for their children. The situation was dire.
This year, we embarked on a project that is bringing sustainable access to safe water and sanitation for the 128 homes and three schools in these three communities. To accomplish this comprehensive project, it was imperative that the community members devote thousands of long hours to hard labor. It meant hand-cutting roads to get vehicles holding necessary equipment up mountains. It meant carrying heavy pounds of cement and large loads of brick. It meant hours of digging trenches and laying piping for water to flow through to reach the community water tanks being constructed. It meant all hands on deck.
From day one, Toño’s commitment to this project has been profound. He has worked over 250 days, volunteering his time, Monday through Saturday from 6:00 am until 5:00 pm. He has excavated trenches. He has carried heavy bricks up the mountains on his back to help with the construction of water tanks. He has motivated others to help out and contribute necessary funds to fix roads, to facilitate the delivery of materials for the construction. He has given up his family time and work time steadfast in his commitment to the ultimate goal of improved health and wellbeing for his own children and for the families in these communities.
Toño left his crops unattended, his only income, and he has not asked for a penny.
Toño’s three-year old son, Anthony, suffers from a severe case of parasitism…Giardia infestation, caused by contaminated water. Toño knows clean water save lives. He knows the success of this project will mean he no longer has to helplessly watch his three-year old son suffer.
As the PWW team, and other community members, learned of Toño’s difficult situation, we came together to collect some money, enough to pay for his son’s medicine. Just weeks earlier, Toño had to sell his only cow in order to take his son to Nicaragua for medical treatment; it was the only option to save young Anthony’s life.
Even with his challenges, Toño continues forward, motivating his neighbors to join in and work harder to get the project done on time. He has such a noble heart.
During a recent meeting, his community came together and raised 500 Honduran Lempiras to help Toño with his daily living cost. Surprisingly, instead of taking the money and putting it in his pocket then heading to the nearest food store (not so close, by the way), he took 100 of those dollars and said: “This is my contribution to the water project. Who else is going to help?”
YOU can help families, like Toño’s, receive life-changing safe water. Donate today.