Driven By Hope—Latrines in San Joaquin, Nindirí Provide Privacy & Hygiene to Families

Don Eulalio with his latrine before & after 

Thanks to a group of generous friends and Bridges supporters in Puerto Rico, our Nindirí site built six latrines in July, six in September, and will be finishing up the last six of 18 approved latrines in the community of San Joaquin. These 18 families were selected to receive a latrine based on their current need. According to Nindirí Project Coordinator Sebastian Ampie, “Eight of the families had no latrine and either borrowed a latrine from a neighbor or went to the bathroom outside, and the rest of the families had latrines in the worst conditions, and were at risk of falling in.”

During the construction process, the families are responsible for digging the hole of the latrine. Many families will dig this hole themselves, however, those that are older and unable to do this pay 4000 cordobas, or approximately 129 US dollars to have this done for them. Bridges buys all of the materials for the latrine, including the stones, floor, seat, and materials for the walls of the latrine.

Don Eulalio Antonio Cano Silva and his family of 8 people received a latrine in July. Sticks and sac material composed the walls of his previous latrine which had been in use for 30 years, and the floor had a large hole in it. Thus, it presented a danger to everyone in the family, who were very worried they would fall in every time they used the bathroom. Now with the new latrine, Don Eulalio says, “I am so grateful to Bridges for building the latrine. We feel safer and have much more privacy.”

Mateo and his father digging the hole of his latrine.

Mateo Francisco Pineda and his family were the recent beneficiaries of a new latrine in September. Mateo, who studied only through elementary school, and his wife, Ana Yancy, have two children, a 12-year-old and a 10-month-old baby. Mateo works as a security guard at ULTRANIC Managua and earns approximately $267 per month; he is the sole earner and supporter of the family. They didn’t have a latrine, borrowing one from family in the area. In fact, five houses used this same latrine, as it was the only one in the area.  Mateo says, “We needed a latrine, but my salary does not stretch to buy the materials for one, due to the expensive costs. We would have had to save little by little for years to be able to construct a latrine of our own, which is why we are so thankful for the project.”

Project Coordinator Sebastian Ampie sums up the importance of this project that helps to provide one of the most basic human needs. He says, “Latrines are so important to the families’ hygiene, privacy, and self-esteem. They are also fundamental to prevent illnesses that can be spread by sharing a latrine with a neighbor, and also help to avoid problems and fighting with neighbors.”