Posted by: ARC | March 31, 2010

Nuns’ eco decision provides clean water to 100s after Chile earthquake

“NEWS FROM CONCEPCION. March 9. Drinking water is still not available. In front of our house there was a queue of 240 people with bottles and buckets with an average of 40 litres of water per person. We gave out 8,800 litres of water, which was provided with a simple hosepipe. I was helped by children who filled the bottles while I was busy at the gate, welcoming and listening….

Several years ago the Sisters of La Retraite community in Concepcion, Chile, made an ecologically sound decision to source the water for their vegetable garden from a spring that lay deep in the earth below their land.  In recent weeks that eco-thinking has paid off many times over, as the tiny community has proved to be the only place in the neighbourhood that could provide clean water to the local people after the Chile earthquake of February 27.

Hundreds of people queued for water at La Retraite

Our newest colleague Sister Mary Bellekom used to be part of that community, and reports that the four nuns who are living there now were involved in helping people come to terms with the calamity. But that it was also wonderful that not only could they offer the vital words of comfort that they needed, but that thanks to their ecological approach to their house they could also provide the real material assistance of water.

When the electricity went back on, the people found there was no water coming through the taps. But the water taps in the La Retraite garden were working.  As soon as the sisters realized this they diverted it to a hose, and shared their water with the local community.  Hundreds of people queued patiently to fill their bottles.“It is miraculous that this cheap pump worked non-stop for nine hours a day until the water came back,” wrote Sister Teresita from Concepcion.  Link to our site  for the rest of the story.

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