Water Changes Lives

Feb 6, 2017

Boyd Funk's recent project in Honduras involved eight miles of hand-dug trench and the construction of a concrete and brick storage tank that was 10,000 gallons. The tank was high in the mountains and just carrying the materials to it was a tremendous amount of work.
Credit Boyd Funk / Holcomb, Kansas

I am Boyd Funk. I am a local farmer who has irrigated out of the Ogallala Aquifer all my life.  I usually think of water as a way to grow a crop, but to some people in the world, water has a different meaning. For the past 15 years, I have led a group that goes to rural areas in Central America. We build water systems that are simple and easy to maintain. We tap a spring high in the mountains, a spring that runs year-round, even in the dry seasons. The water is gravity flowed to the homes of the people. Trenches are hand dug and at least one man in the village is trained to maintain and repair the system. The water we provide is not for agriculture purposes but only for domestic use.

The immediate results of a water system are first noticed by the women. Women are usually the ones that carry water, sometimes for long distances. These women now have time to do other things. Having time to grow a vegetable garden or spending time with the children makes an impact on the lives of their families.

There are also the improvements in health of the people. Less parasites and improved hygiene. We also encourage the building of a septic and flush toilet. Having water in the dry season to make adobe bricks spurs a building boom. Improving their homes and building new ones.

The success of any community project depends on local leadership. Someone in the community had to seek us out. Then they had to convince the members of the community that the project could work and that the members of the community had to work to get the project done to get water themselves. We require them to work in the project if they want water.  Usually they dig trenches and lay pipe.

This last project involved eight miles of hand-dug trench and the construction of a concrete and brick storage tank that was 10,000 gallons.  These tanks are high in the mountains and just carrying the materials to the tanks is a tremendous amount of work. Our help is not only to provide the resources to get the water system done, but it is also our goal to show them that we care about them, that they have friends. They can’t believe that we would travel this far just to help them.  This is a tremendous boost to their self esteem.

We also try to encourage the education of the children. We do a program for the children every afternoon and try to encourage the children to stay in school. Many of the families need the children to work on the farms. They children sometimes see no other opportunity for their lives but to continue in the tradition of substance agriculture.

Many of the farms in the lower elevations grow just enough corn and beans to feed themselves. These people have very little cash, maybe one U.S. Dollar per day to buy the other things they need.  In higher elevations, coffee becomes the main crop. These farmers have maybe $3 per day and are considered affluent.

This is Boyd Funk for HPPR. I am a local farmer and I am passionate about building water projects in Central America because they have a real impact on peoples’ lives.

Many of Honduras' farms in the lower elevations grow just enough corn and beans to feed the farmer and his family. These people have very little cash, maybe $1per day for food and necessities. In higher elevations, coffee becomes the main crop. These farmers are considered affluent earning up to $3 per day. Boyd Funk led a team installing a well to serve a Honduran village.Credit Boyd Funk / Holcomb, KansasEdit | Remove