The Building Blocks of Modern Bathrooms

Health. Hygiene. Dignity. These aren’t just campaign buzz words, they’re what The List 2017 will mean to El Porvenir.

Our buddies at Amigos for Christ, a partner NGO who performed the well drilling in El Porvenir, have been working with Nicaraguan families to build Modern Bathrooms for a few years now, and they’ve got stories that attest to the importance of all three of those points. Let’s List them out!

Health - Amigos told us this story about Rosa Elena. She and her family saved up to pay their portion of the costs for a new house. Their goal was to replace the falling down, straw-roofed home they lived in - the Modern Bathroom portion wasn’t necessarily one of their motivations. It seems Nicaraguans can overlook the importance of bathrooms as easily as Americans!

Here’s Rosa, in her own words. “To be honest we were most excited at first about the house, but soon the clean water and bathroom became the reason we all became so healthy!”

And last year Rosa, her husband Marvin, and two daughters tested parasite free! But the two boys were a different story, which leads us to... 

Hygiene - We all were taught the importance of hand-washing from an early age - it’s almost instinctual to hit the sink after every bathroom visit. However, in places where hygiene education doesn’t happen, it’s not an automatic. But this is where building relationships, trust, and understanding come in.  

Despite the rest of the family being free and clear of parasites, Rosa’s two boys, 11 year old Jefferson and 7 year old Marvin Jr., were still suffering with illnesses. A little time spent hanging out with the family determined the cause, which was actually a different non-hygienic practice. Can you guess the culprit? Here’s a hint - ‘No shoes, no shirt, no service.’

These two boys have spent their lives playing outside barefoot, including in areas near pit latrines. The contamination was entering their bodies through their feet! But once the cause of the continued cycle of parasites was discovered, Rosa took charge. “The boys wear their shoes every day,” Rosa reports. And they’ve now tested clean of all parasites!

“Look at how healthy my boys are. How tall! They will be taller than Marvin and I soon. I am so blessed!”

Dignity - Juan Enrique has a different take on why his Modern Bathroom is important. “Do you know what is so great? You know I have only daughters? It is so lovely that they now have a secure place to shower!”

He recalls memories of bathing his children beneath the cloak of plastic bags or, as they got older, how his girls had to keep their clothes on as they bathed, always cautious of who might be watching from nearby.

“There was never privacy, just a life of scrubbing under my shirt,” Ninoska, Juan’s youngest daughter, told the Amigos staff.

But that’s not life any more. The family now enjoys their Modern Bathroom, built of block walls and complete with a toilet, sink, and a simple jet nozzle shower. And most important of all, a space for Ninoska and the other women in Juan’s life to be clean and safe at the same time.

Health, Hygiene, Dignity. All brought together in Modern Bathrooms.  


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