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The Happy Mother from Ocotillo

Your support of the UMCOR Sunday offering allows UMCOR to reach out to these impoverished communities. Read about this mother's story.

Yamileth Centeno is a 35-year-old mother of two from Ocotillo, Nicaragua. She was born in the little farming village, about 16 kilometers (almost 10 miles) north of the town of Terrabona.

"I dreamt of being a doctor as a child, but I had to work from a very young age and was only able to go to school for three years," Yamileth says. "At least I can read and write and I am so happy that I have my own humble house to live in with my children. My husband travels to Costa Rica every year to work, where he earned a bit of money and was able to build the house, but I didn't have a latrine in my house; it is too expensive to build one."

She tells us that in the past, the hygiene situation in the community was terrible. "We all defecated in the open, everyone had to go around hiding in the bushes always wondering if someone would see them," Yamileth says. "We were always having diarrhea, parasites, and stomach pains. As time passed, two families built their own latrines, and there we went to defecate." 

Children and youth in Ocotillo, Nicaragua, benefit from new latrines. Photo credit: El Porvenir.

Yamileth and her family had also built their own latrine from black plastic and bits of wood. It did help the family hygiene, but it wasn't enough, as the poor construction meant it was not a dignified latrine and did not eliminate disease.

When the community reached out to ask the local nonprofit, El Porvenir for help, a request was sent to the United Methodist Committee on Relief's (UMCOR's) Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program, and funds were granted to build latrines for Ocotillo. With the involvement of the entire community, 60 double-pit latrines were built. The community contributed 10 percent of the cost and the labor to benefit more than 60 families. 

"We feel happy with our latrine project and today I feel safer when I need to take care of my necessities. There is more hygiene, my house looks and smells better, as well as the entire community. I give thanks to God and to El Porvenir for helping us have clean and high quality latrines," says Yamileth. I ask that El Porvenir and the donors (UMCOR) keep supporting us, and not just us, but also the other families in other communities that today don't have a latrine like this one."

UMCOR's WASH program is supporting local partners that work with impoverished communities to develop safe water sources, improve their knowledge and practice of healthy behaviors, and find ways to improve sanitation. Every $1 spent on water, sanitation, and hygiene generates $4.30 in increased productivity and decreased health-care costs.

Adapted, UMCOR website

One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, UMCOR Sunday calls United Methodists to share the goodness of life with those who hurt. Your gifts to UMCOR Sunday lay the foundation for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to share God's love with communities everywhere. The special offering underwrites UMCOR's "costs of doing business." This helps UMCOR to keep the promise that 100 percent of any gift to a specific UMCOR project will go toward that project, not administrative costs.

When you give generously on UMCOR Sunday, you make a difference in the lives of people who hurt. Give now.

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