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PERU | Monday, 21 July 2008 | Views [792]

Isabelle (on the left), and the

Isabelle (on the left), and the "Care" workers, discussing how they can help the town they are standing in... Challua.

I went with Isabell to see where the families of most of the children live... "Challua" (meaning invasion). Most of the families came to Huaraz from the mountains, and were wanting a better life plus education for their children. 


Many families are now struggling, with the men working about only one day per week in perhaps construction, and the women washing clothes and selling eggs and other food in the markets whenever they can. 


Their houses are mostly made from mud brick called Adobe, which must be left to dry for a week once made. The authorities are reluctant to do anything about the condition of the houses because of the chance of flooding in the rainy season.


The water supply works only twice per day for 150 families. They are allowed 3 x 80 litres for the day. Before Caño (water tap), the families had to buy water (1 sole for 10 litres) from the families in the legal houses behind. All that the Huaraz Municipal gives the town, are volunteers to help them recycle. 


The people in the houses behind the town of Challua break the people of Challua's sewage pipes so that all of the sewage seeps into their backyards and smells terrible. They also throw their rubbish into their yards on purpose because they think it is wrong that they are there illegally. They then blame this on the people of Challua so that others will think that the town is disgusting.


A couple of days after my visit to Challua, I went back to meet Isabelle and some project managers from the organisation "Care". They had come to help try and build better water systems, and with the poor hygiene.


As a local spoke about her living conditions to the Care workers, a pig stood at our side snorting, while two chickens chased each other around madly on the dirt. She spoke about how she prevents the water getting into her houses during the wet season, and how she needed to keep building her house up.


Within the group, I met Francois, who came with the Care workers as part of an internship from May to August. He is from Canada, is studying water engineering, and wants to see what it's like to work with an NGO, compared with a Government run organisation. He told me that it is frustrating in NGO's sometimes because it takes so long to get things done.


Isabelle added "We hope for small victories all the time".


The smell of feces was stronger this time, as it was earlier in the afternoon, and hotter. The children have diarrhea two to three times per month, and don't want to travel far into the middle of the river to go to the toilet.


120 families here and a few families from another neighborhood with similar conditions are trying to apply to the government for ownership of their homes via possession papers. The current Mayor doesn't want to grant them this though, again because of the flooding situation in the wet season.

If you would like to find out more about, or help the town of Challua, contact Isabelle via the website www.peruseeds.org


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