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Access to Clean Water

People line up in Los Arabos, Cuba to receive clean, potable water from La Trinidad parish. Photo: Anne Marie MacNeil

May 18, 2016

By Anne Marie MacNeil

In Canada, we take clean water for granted. We just turn on our taps and out comes water suitable for bathing, cooking and drinking.  It is a necessity of life.

In Cuba the government provides the people with free health care and education and everyone may have a job; however, people do not earn enough to cover the cost of basic needs.  Many do not have enough healthy food nor access to clean drinking water.

This is where the churches in Cuba come in.  They are leaders in the development for social action.

Our immersion group at Justice Camp visited four projects aimed at providing food security for the people.  Our first stop was at Iglesia Episcopal La Trinidad – the Church of the Trinity in Los Arabos.

Our host, Fr. Carlos Alberto Tamayo Lopez said that the parish looked at the needs of their community in determing their mission.  It was evident that many children suffered from diaherra and some died because they did not have clean drinking water.  La Trinidad, with financial assistance from church partners, installed a water purification system at the church for the community.  The town delivers water each day to their holding tank, which is then filtered.  The people begin lining up with their containers at about 7 am for the 2-hour wait for the gates to open.  The water is provided free to anyone in the community of Los Arabos.

Secular oganizations also do good work but as church we do it because we have God in our lives, says Fr. Carlos.  He said ‘We are not interested in people’s hunger to fill the church’s pews, we are interested in people’s hunger because it is the right thing to do.  If you don’t love God, you can’t go out  to serve the world.”

Fr. Carlos told us that there is a special relationship between the Episcopal Church in Cuba and the Anglican Church of Canada and because of this relationship, they have been able to accomplish many things.  He is very thankful for the assistance.

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