UNION — A convenient source of safe drinking water and the chance to live and to go to school are the gifts the Rotary Club gave to the children of a village in Honduras.
Lorraine M. Angelino, the 2013-2014 District Governor for Rotary District 7750, addressed the Union Rotary Club during its regular meeting Tuesday afternoon at Covenant Baptist Church. Prior to speaking, Angelino presented the club’s members with pins bearing the 2013-2014 Rotary International theme “Engage Rotary, Change Lives.” Angelino then illustrated that message with a story about how several Rotary Clubs in District 7750, including the Emerald City Rotary Club of which she is a member, helped change the lives of an entire Honduran village and their children.
Olanchito, Honduras was a community in need of a safe, convenient source of drinking water, but lacked the funds to build such a system. Angelino said that several of the District 7750 Rotary Clubs — Abbeville, Emerald City, Greenwood, and McCormick — in cooperation with the Olanchito Rotary Club began working to secure the funds to provide the village with a source of safe drinking water.
Initially, Angelino said the clubs arranged for water to be brought in by tanker trucks. This was in 2004, and Angelino said she waited as people would fill containers with water from the spigot on the trucks. She said that once a container was filled, the children who were there would put their hands over the spigot to make sure none of the water poured out onto the ground.
“Water is like gold there,” Angelino said.
The water tankers were only a temporary solution, however, and plans were to build a water tower to store water for the village. Angelino said that the trip in 2004 was also for Rotarians to sign the paperwork to have the water tower built. The construction was financed with a matching grant from the Rotary Foundation. She said she returned to Olanchito in 2006 when the water tower was completed and was told by a resident just what a convenient source of safe drinking water meant to the village and its children.
“A woman told me thank you for saving our children,” Angelino said. “She said the only source of water they had until the was from a nearby river. She said that they knew the water from the river was not good, that it was full of things like parasites and that some of the children would die from drinking it.”
In addition, Angelino said it was the children themselves who usually had to go to the river every day to get the water that was threatening their lives. She said the woman told her that by providing Olanchito with a supply of safe drinking water, Rotary was not only saving the lives of the village’s children it was also giving them a chance to get an education.
“She said that instead of going to get water, the children can now go to school,” Angelino said.
Angelino said what happened in Olanchito embodies the Rotary theme of Engage Rotary, Change Lives as the actions of her club and those of the clubs working with them changed the lives of the people of that village for the better.
“This is Rotary at its best,” Angelino said.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.