Water means life

Water for me means life. Without water...we are nothing.

Erenice and Moacir

Erenice and her husband, Moacir, live in the semiarid region of Ceara, in Brazil. In addition to raising dairy cattle and cultivating cassava, Erenice and her family also produce cassava flour. For the sake of the couple’s lives and livelihood, water is critical. However, water has not always been easily accessible.

Following the passing of her mother, Erenice has cared for the water well that her mom and dad built decades ago. To this day, the water well is the main source of water for Erenice’s entire community which consists of Erenice’s family and the families of her sisters and brothers. Because so many of her loved ones rely on the water well, Erenice took on the important responsibility of caring for it with great pride.


Some of Erenice's sisters take a break from work in their casava flour house

Water for me is everything...everything.

Erenice stands by her family's water well

Since Erenice's childhood, the family’s water well has never run dry. However, in recent years the structure, built entirely out of rammed earth, has been in danger of collapsing. Honoring the memory of her parents and to protect her family's quality of life and means of production, Erenice decided to repair the well.

With her income, Erenice could not afford to add concrete rings, a water pump, and plumbing. So, she applied for funding from Banco do Nordeste's Agroamigo Program, our financial partner in Brazil. Erenice was approved for a loan to be repaid in what she explained as affordable monthly installments.


Erenice's representative from Water.org's partner bank was pleased to be part of helping improve the family's water source

Erenice’s loan covered a renovation and restoration of her family’s water well. Now the well continues to supply an adequate amount of water that is pumped and piped to four houses, in addition to the flour house, a facility that is shared by Erenice and her siblings to produce cassava flour. The water is regarded as being of good quality (some say it tastes better than mineral water) and it is used for “everything” according to Erenice—drinking, cooking, cleaning the house, watering the animals, watering the plantation, and for preparing flour.


Casava root is harvested and brought into the flour house for flour production


Erenice's sisters chop the roots


Moacir and Erenice's brothers grind and sift the cut casava


Water is an important part of the process


Erenice is thankful her whole family can run and rely on this business


As a result of their casava business, each family earns more than $400 USD per month

Erenice feels proud of herself for keeping the family water well alive. She knows her mother would also be proud. With safe water flowing on their properties in Brazil, Erenice’s sisters, brothers, and their children continue to have successful, productive daily lives, uninhibited by a lack of access to safe water. For all of this, Erenice says, “I am happy…grateful…grateful.”

Erenice tells her story.