SHI-Belize participants Milton and Andrea Coc reside in the village of Boom Creek, Belize with their five children and have been working with SHI-Belize program for two years. Living in Boom Creek is a dream come true for the Coc family. They have access to vast amount of land for farming and a peaceful community to raise their children. For years, however, they faced a difficult problem. Milton Coc explains,
Like all my neighbors, we had a pit latrine. During the rainy season, the flooding goes as high as five feet. Since all our latrines are low to the ground, the flood causes the latrines to overflow. The waste contaminates our water making it impossible for us to drink, bathe or even go outside as it is unsafe for our health. Also, snakes would constantly be lurking around trying to find mice to eat, so I feared that one day my young children would be bitten.
I really wanted a solution to this problem because we are tired of dealing with this every year. Then I heard of the eco-toilets (also known as composting latrines) that SHI is building for families. In this new way of building latrines, the urine is separated from the solid waste. Urine is then mixed with water to be used as a fertilizer, and the black panel on the back absorbs the heat of the sun to dry up the solid waste to make a fertilizer for trees.
I thought it was something I needed for my family. Right away, I spoke to my field trainer about the problems we faced and requested that my family be put on the list to receive one. SHI must have seen how much we needed it, because they immediately arranged for us to build an eco-toilet on our property, for which I am truly grateful for.
Compared to the old pit latrine, this new composting latrine is clean and sanitary. It sits high above the ground away from pests so I don’t have to worry about them anymore, nor do I have to worry about the waste contamination during the rainy season. Now when it floods, our water is no longer contaminated.
I am truly thankful for the SHI team, who introduces us to new techniques that are much healthier and safer for families such as mine."
Since I began working with SHI, so much has changed in my life, especially now that I understand things such as how to use chicken manure and rice husks for fertilizer. My field trainer, Daysbeth, has shown me how to ferment this into a liquid mix that is very hot at first, but after ten days it is ready to be used.
This year we planted a small coffee plantation using terraces with very large holes. We filled the holes with the chicken manure and rice husk fertilizer and mixed with good soil. It is really helping the coffee seedlings to grow.
We are also creating compost with all of our waste from the kitchen, along with the leaves that we sweep up in the yard.
With the help of SHI, I now have a small chicken coop and have begun selling eggs in a small shop that I opened. This has helped me to keep sending my daughter to school to finish her secondary classes.
I am very grateful for your support of SHI. I can’t tell you how happy I am. I hope my neighbors will have the same fate as I do and can be helped in the same way.
How can you help? Join us on our Smaller World Honduran Coffee Tour, or give a Reforest a Family Farm Gift of Hope to your friends and family!
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Voices from the Field