By Lauren Odderstol July 14, 2020 Señora Maurilia Xona Pacay is 65 years old. Each day, she hauls sand on her back from the main road to her daughter’s home to build a concrete cistern for a water system. “We have been living in the community since 2000 without clean water. We’ve been suffering for 20 years by drinking dirty water which has caused diarrhea, fever, itching, and other illnesses.” Señora Maurilia carries sand on her back from her daughter’s house to the water cistern construction. In rural Guatemala where Maurilia and her family reside, clean water is not easy to access. Public pipelines and water taps are rare or do not exist. Many villagers rely on contaminated water from streams, unknowingly contracting diseases and parasites. Maurilia is one of many women fighting for good health for her family. In order to provide enough water for their family, Maurilia’s grandchildren help carry clean water home every day after school. Without electricity in the community, they are sometimes unable to read or study for school when they return too late at night. Sometimes, they have to miss school to make sure they have enough water at home. After twenty years of working to get clean water, Maurilia said, “My three daughters finally received rainwater collection systems from Medical Teams International to provide clean water to my eleven grandkids – two of whom are under two years old. Now, I feel better knowing that my grandkids cannot get sick like before because they have clean water to drink and for cooking.” Maurilia and her family have clean water thanks to Providence volunteer teams who go down each year to build latrines and water systems with Medical Teams. Though we are unable to travel together this year due to COVID-19, these systems’ impact is long-lasting. “Thanks to Medical Teams International and the volunteers who came to build water systems in our village, the children’s health is better, and they can continue their education.” Volunteers build a latrine in La Ceiba, Guatemala last summer, 2019. With COVID-19 on the rise in Guatemala, the support of companies like Providence becomes essential. Funding helps our Guatemalan teams take action to slow the spread of COVID-19. Handwashing stations are being distributed to rural villages to educate and equip communities for COVID-19 prevention. Our Guatemalan staff are training local health officials on proper COVID-19 health protocol to help contain the spread of the pandemic. Mother-Counselors continue going door to door in the villages, helping to educate the local communities and protect the health of mothers and children. Miguel Angel Garcia, treasurer of the Community Health, Water and Sanitation Commission in Agua Blanca village in Chicaman, demonstrates how to use a new hand washing system. “Each one of us should do our part implementing the protective actions,” said Walter Lopez, Country Manager, Medical Teams Guatemala. “Our comprehensive response is possible only through the generosity of our partners.” With the investment of corporate partners, grandmothers like Maurilia are receiving access to the systems and health information needed to protect their families, especially during this pandemic. Our warehouse team and volunteers prepare a shipment of supplies to send to Guatemala, including hospital beds and supplies from corporations like Becton, Dickinson and Company. Thank you to all of our partners who have given critically-needed resources to support our COVID-19 emergency response. For more information on how your company can get involved, visit our corporate partners page.