By Moonyeen King
A lot of us who come from developed parts of the world take our drinking water for granted. We have had to become a little more mindful of it since moving here, but still do not realize the problems faced by some of our more unfortunate Mexican neighbors. In most barrios the people, especially the children, chronically suffer from parasites and other water- borne diseases. Poor water is one of the major reasons for inferior health in all the barrios. Intestinal parasites are insidious creatures that can only be identified through expensive laboratory tests. At Tepehua Community Center, the Rotary Club of Ajijic installed a reverse osmosis water system.
Rotary was started in 1905 by a 37-year-old attorney named Paul Harris. His vision was,”Why not have a fellowship composed of business men from different occupations, without restrictions of politics or religion?” By 1947, Rotary was spanning the globe; then two world wars changed the face of Rotary as they were banned from parts of the Far East and Eastern Europe. This was re-established by 1990, opening the Rotary Club to women quickly followed, and in 1989 all rules and documents on Legislation was standardized for Rotary Internationally.
The Rotary Club of Ajijic, a multi-national, by-lingual club, in partnership with Rotary International, has embraced Lakeside with programs throughout the area - setting up water systems in some rural villages, creating libraries, helping education and music programs.
The reverse osmosis water system installed by Rotary at Tepehua was a major improvement in the lives of the citizens there. Reverse osmosis processes the City water through a special filter tank, reducing the solids, arsenic and other chemicals. The City water has long been known to be contaminated. Three years ago the City could not afford the chlorine needed to treat the water. The quality this year is uncertain, but the fact the water companies are so pervasive probably tells its own story.
Bottled water, at 22 pesos a garrafon, is prohibitive to most residents of Tepehua. Treating the illnesses associated with the consumption of bad water is even more costly. With Rotary’s help the people of Tepehua can come to the center and fill their bottles with clean water free!
Rotary has helped with the Maternal Health program in Mexico, especially the free clinic of Tepehua and CEDEJO of Ajijic, supplying money for education and family planning. They are also helping financially to patch up the leaking houses before the rainy season, and many other things that space here does not allow. Rotary is solid proof that organizations working together can change many things about our wounded societies around the world.
For information on the local Rotary Club of Ajijic, contact Sylvia Hamilton, Rotarian.
For more information about the Tepehua Community Center,