Posted by: meaghaninwaslala | October 5, 2010

What a Journey It Has Been! A “Despidida” (Farewell) Post from Waslala

After working with the Pastoral de Agua for over a year and after having lived in Waslala for nearly two years overall, my time to say “Goodbye (until we meet again)” has come.

I first came to Waslala in 2002 with a young, open mind.  I was just beginning to gain exposure to the vivid injustices in our world and how, as a relatively well-off Westerner, I was essentially wrapped up in these injustices too.  My heart and soul were touched by the people that I met– poor economically but rich with love– and they ultimately changed my life path.

Meaghan Gruber

Meaghan Gruber

I came back to Nicaragua many times many times since that initial trip and I finally decided to settle in Waslala in December 2008.  After all, it made sense after being welcomed back by many dear friends enough times and in seeing how I could be an essential contributor to the work that Water for Waslala was funding here in the region.

While working with the Pastoral del Agua, or Water Ministry, over this past year, I am proud of what we have accomplished and I feel very fulfilled when thinking about the lives that we have impacted over the years.   Each system is truly a labor of love for us, right down to every necessary detail along the way to each community’s tapstand: our thorough system designs, our surveys, our workshops on hygiene and the environment, our meetings to organize the communities, our tireless treks through the jungle, and even keeping an open door in our parish office so community members can always stop by for questions and support.

Over the years, many here have told me, “Meaghan, you are doing beautiful work, you are helping us obtain the most essential resource in life: clean water.”  One good friend often joked, “We should build a statue in honor of your service here.”  Woah.  I feel that is way too much gratitude, especially given the ocean of work yet to be done.  Instead, I feel a statue should be built in honor of all those brave men and women who have struggled in organizing their community and have achieved– along with our donors’ help– their dream of clean water for their families and neighbors and their children.  The work here is quite beautiful and nothing is so joyous as seeing the smile on faces when clean water finally arrives to the newly built public tapstands in a community – as we recently witnessed in El Varillal 2.

Waslala has taught me so much.  Waslala has taught me about the rough realities and challenges of life, and how to sometimes accept them and work with them.  Waslala has taught me how to be grateful and how to be giving.  Waslala has taught me that we are all essentially the same beings.  In community there are always conflicts and sometimes there are resolutions.  Sometimes extraordinary people step up and hope and work for change and to better the quality of life around them.  Fortunately I have met plenty of extraordinary leaders here in Waslala.

Waslala has taught me that I need to work hardest in the times when it seems like my back is up against the wall.  Because, if I stay the course, I have seen how the universe and community has helped me and, together, we have pushed through and succeeded.  Waslala has reminded me that there are many caring people in this world.  There are so many that live in North America– many of which who want to make sure that their brothers and sisters here in Waslala are able to give their children high quality water, just as they do for their children each day.  And Waslala has taught me how to truly love.  Despite all the struggles here, we have accomplished great things through much effort, teamwork, and love.

Thank you, first and foremost, to all the communities we are working with to build potable water systems.  Thank you to Virginia, Denis, Junior, and the parish staff that oversee all the other projects.  Thank you to the WfW Board for keeping us on our toes and for always giving us fresh insights and ideas to move work forward.  Thank you to the Villanova professors and students for your energy, passion, constant support, and friendships.  Thank you to all our supporters for standing by our work down here.  Again, I feel very fulfilled about our accomplishments thus far – it has been a great honor to be a part of WfW and in changing lives here.

Until we meet again…  take care, keep that passion.  We are moving forward.  Step by step.  We are working on turning hope into reality, and it is quite beautiful.

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