To the Editor,
Our community is located ten minutes walking outside of Punta Gorda Town, Toledo District. The name of the community is Saint Vincent’s Block or Cerro. Our community is majority Garinagu people living on and caring for these communal lands. Most of us living here (over one hundred people) do not have access to clean safe drinking water and many of us are children.
Currently those in the community with hand-dug wells use the well-water for cooking and cleaning but there are some people in the community without wells. Our hand-dug well-water is not safe for drinking. We must buy drinking water that is prohibitively expensive and creates plastic pollution.
During the dry season once a month the town Fire Department provides us with a drum of water per household. We are grateful for this service. That water comes free of cost but, it is not enough for households (some of which are made up of more than 10 people). Also, this water is not safe for drinking.
This reality is a human and environmental issue of great proportions. There are many more dimensions to this environmental injustice that we must discuss. For now, suffice it to say that our number one priority is getting clean, drinking water for our people.
The people in the community are willing and able to dig wells, but there is limited equipment and the area is rocky – we have been told that it will break government machinery. We have offered to pay to lay down pipes to our homes and have been refused. We are now looking to the public to support us in these efforts to secure a basic human right for our people. We greatly need water and appreciate all support from the community to make this happen.
We are awake, energized and willing. Please let us know your suggestions, show your support and contact us at [email protected]