Ariel - Uniforms + Latrine
To work with Ariel to build a sanitary latrine on his property and trade work hours for him to buy his children school uniforms and supplies.
about the family:
Latitude had the pleasure of meeting Ariel in 2013, while completing a roofing project in his community. Animated and exuberant, Ariel is full of life and he quickly etched a permanent place in our hearts. All seven of the houses in his tiny community needed new roofs but there were two that needed to be completely rebuilt. Rather than jump to his own needs first, Ariel was the first to offer to single-handedly rebuild his elderly neighbour’s house and spent a week making sure it was structurally sound enough to ensure she would be a recipient of a new roof.
We watched in awe as he then moved onto rebuilding his own house for his family (including his wife, his five children, and his paralyzed mother-in-law) that had been sliding down an eroding hill. While we frequented his house often while he was building, we can’t take credit for any of the hands-on work that it took to get the job done.
Ariel was determined to make change for his family and we were determined to see it happen.
When we revisited Ariel the following year to check in on his new roof and well-being, we were met with enthusiasm and love but saddened to learn that his wife has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and that two of his five children were no longer attending school. Proud and dignified, Ariel didn’t elaborate on his reasoning for this but later the kids revealed that they can’t afford uniforms.
Once again, Ariel inspired us with his optimism and grace in the face of great adversity. Learning about the boys’ withdrawal from school upset us. Bright and excitable, we knew how much they valued education and the joy and opportunity they absorbed from being students and receiving an education.
So herein was our dilemma: we wanted to see Jose David and Gabriel back in school but we knew there was a better way than simply handing his family a gift of uniforms and materials.
We approached Ariel with a proposal. We needed some work done sifting sand for filters to bring clean water to neighbouring communities in rural Nicaragua. What if he put in the work in exchange for uniforms for the boys?
His response was no less than jovial than any other conversation we’ve shared with Ariel…
and he was excited about the opportunity to bring change to his family’s circumstance through his own capacity and strength.
Within the week, Ariel was out sifting sand and we were excited to return with new shoes, shirts, pants and belts to get the boys back in school. Because of his hard work and the need for increased sanitation in his family's home, Latitude worked with Ariel to build a latrine.