The Water Ladies of Navajo and Mindanao
Perhaps we like this story so much about one woman making a difference by bringing fresh water to her extended community, because it reminds us of our own global associate working in similar ways for her own people.
Both Darlene Adviso and Dr. Susana Anayatin share the common goal of ensuring that those in their communities without clean water don’t continue to fall through the cracks of government bureaucracy. They both have taken matters into their own hands to serve a population that has been largely overlooked and forgotten.
Recently, CBS News featured Darlene and her story of driving a water tank truck daily to deliver clean water to those in the Navajo Nation near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Shockingly, an estimated 40% of people living there do not have access to clean water. They have to bring water into their homes bucket by bucket, because even if their homes are plumbed to bring running water in, they are off the ‘water-grid’ and there isn’t a supply even available to them. Much of this is because Indian water rights were an after-thought to agreements between the U.S. government and the Navajo Nation and the only water that they legally have access to is ‘ground-water’. Complicating the issue, are accessibility challenges, because even at 600 ft. deep, much of the water underground is contaminated by uranium. Engineers and dedicated non-profit leaders are working on a solution to provide a system of water to the population that will go deeper – deep enough to make sure that the water supply will be drinkable and clean for in-home use. This could be years away and until then, Darlene makes her daily rounds in her water truck to bring her community the water it needs to sustain life.
Akin to the Navajo clean water issue in New Mexico, the Goldin Institute’s own Dr. Anayatin has cut through bureaucratic red tape and assembled those in the community on both sides of the civil-conflict in Mindanao, to work together in restoring safe drinking water to elementary schools serving both the children who attend and the communities at large in these rural areas. Just like Darlene and her water truck, Susana and her team have found a way to get around obstacles and negotiate a harsh environment and often harsher political climate, to make a difference in these communities. Susana and her story are profiled at our new microsite which can be found here.
Although one woman is in the southwest U.S. and one is in the southern Philippines, Darlene and Susana are connected by the common mission they share and the passion they bring to helping their communities.