I hung this photo on the kitchen cabinet that holds water glasses. When my Mom asked about it, I got about four words out before I started crying.
"She was our first--"
My voice broke. I smiled apologetically.
She was the first person in the village to use our finished well. We had held our dedication ceremony and said our goodbyes. We were loading into our trucks to leave Campenero Numero Dos for the last time. I stepped away to gaze around, and that's when I saw her.
I didn't have time to grab my camera, but the image is imprinted in my mind like a photograph. She stood across the street from the well, her hands folded much like this photo, and watched as her grandson placed their big blue jug beneath the pump. She smiled brightly as he pumped up and down. When the jug was full, he crossed the street and they walked together to their home--just yards away.
It is such a simple image, but I don't think I'll ever forget it. For decades this woman had drawn dirty water from a hand-dug well. Though it was as brown as ditch water after a spring storm, she had bathed with it, cooked with it, and likely gotten sick from it. But now, she could walk down the street and get clean water.
I fast for her, for tough old women around the world who will add one more eye wrinkle from smiling over the blessing of water.