One hot, summer day in Canantong, Philippines, a young boy went for a swim in the irrigation canal near his home. He was abruptly interrupted when his mother, Mary Ann, came out to scold him. What Mary Ann’s son was naively oblivious to was the fact that broken bottles lined the floor of the irrigation canal.
As unsuitable as the canal was for swimming, Mary Ann and her family had no choice but to use that same canal for washing their clothes and shallow bathing. But there is no doubt that it’s a dangerous place for children to play.
With limited sources for water, Mary Ann’s family, along with 490 other men, women and children living in the village of Canantong, had to use their resources the best they could; and for most, that meant using the dirty, dangerous canal as a source for water.
Mary Ann’s husband, Arman, having relatives living on the other side of the village, would travel nearly three miles to use a water source nearer to them. But Arman could only carry five gallons of water at a time, forcing the return of the initial problem.
Of the 90 families in the community of Canantong, 75 came together to find the solution. They decided it was most important to avoid water-related diseases and increase the amount of clean water for each family. Working together and gathering newly found resources, they were able to get the money and supplies necessary to begin building.
With a goal to access five water pumps, they have already superseded what they thought possible, accessing six pumps total. While only four have been installed, they plan on finishing the installation process this month.
With a sense of community pride and ownership, the people of Canantong have accomplished more than they set out to, setting the a high precedent for all future projects.