In many parts of Nicaragua it's easier to find gold than it is to find clean, safe water but Charlottesville's Building Goodness Foundation is changing that. Now expanding into Central America, BGF is working to bring clean water to a hospital in a remote part of Nicaragua. NBC29's Henry Graff is traveling with them and will be reporting on the trip all week.
Reliable water is hard to come by in developing nations, including Nicaragua. The Carlos Centeno Primary Hospital in Siuna, Nicaragua is the only one around for hundreds of miles, with many patients relying on it for daily medical care. The hospital has been caring for the community without running water since 2003.
We take running water for granted in the United States but at the hospital in Siuna it was a dream - a dream now turned reality.
Kelly Eplee, the executive director of the Building Goodness Foundation said, "Can you imagine doing medicine, pediatrics, cleaning anything like that in a hospital without water?"
That's exactly what doctors and nurses faced at the hospital.
Dr. Emerson Dixon of the Carlos Centeno Primary Hospital said, "They had to attend to patients with water from buckets and bottles."
"Surgeons were doing surgery without, the surgeons were actually using bottled water to try to clean their hands," Robin Joslin of the Building Goodness Foundation said. "There was a level of sanitation that wasn't fit for a hospital."
Built in 2003, the hospital relied on water being pumped from 11 miles away but the system quickly failed. The Building Goodness Foundation stepped in, digging 270-feet into the ground, and creating a new well right next to a water tower. The move frees up any water that would have gone to the hospital to now go to the town itself.
Eplee said, "Our involvement here meant getting water, clean water, to the right people at the right time."
Doctors at the Carlos Centeno Primary Hospital say having constant, running, clean water is improving the care for their patients.
Dr. Dixon said, "Now that they have running water, the patients have access to water all day."
On this trip, a volunteer plumber checked over all the hospital bathrooms and fixed things that were broken including showers, sinks and toilets.
Dr. Dixon stated, "Patients no longer forced to use outhouses, doctors now able to keep their medical equipment clean."