We also made the trip to one of our best producing water plants in Dona Ana, an established community with a small but thriving church partner.
There we were given the opportunity to walk around the neighboring streets with the minister of the church, Pastora Mirena. She waved and spoke to the many familiar faces as we walked and it was obvious she was a respected and loved community leader. And this is why the model Water at Work Ministry employs, of installing water plants in conjunction with thriving community churches, works so well.
As we talked with some of the neighbors and heard how having the reliable water and having the support of the church was so important, I was reminded of the ancient church.
It struck me that this is how it was – and perhaps how it should still be – the church caring for its immediate community in tangible ways.
We came to a house near the end of the road. The home had been added on to more than once and not all the walls were complete. The floor was dirt and there was little in way of a kitchen or bathroom. Yet there we met a proud grandmother, and 6 of her 9 grandchildren, who kept appearing from behind the walls. She introduced them all and her daughter who lived there as well.
It struck me then that there was no shame in their poverty.
They did not try to hide it or explain it. I thought how this was different from how the poor here in the United States often respond. I feel certain that it is due in large part to the shared experience of poverty in the DR. There is no reason to hide or be ashamed if you are in the same situation as so many others.
Yet again I was thankful knowing that our water plant was there, proving a ready source of affordable, safe water.