Among acres of banana plantations in coastal Panama lies the village of Puente Blanco, an indigenous community where the main source of water used to be polluted wells and a stagnant waterhole. Today, potable water reaches every household of Puente Blanco and families are living in a healthier environment – thanks in part to the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross has been conducting sanitation and hygiene workshops in Puente Blanco for about two year s. After realizing that access to clean water was holding them back, the indigenous Ngöbe community decided to advocate for their right to safe drinking water. The community succeeded in obtaining potable water, not only for themselves but also for the neighboring village. Since then, quality of life has substantially improved in Puente Blanco, where cases of diarrhea, vomiting, fevers, and food poisoning have significantly decreased in the past months. To add to a culture of healthy living, the American Red Cross has worked with local volunteers to clean common areas now used for community gatherings, sport, and play.