Living Water 4 Roatan (LW4R) is a Christian Missionary Lead Project, which has the mission of bringing purified water and the message of Jesus Christ, the only source of “Living Water,” to the poor communities of Roatan, Honduras.
Ten years ago Frances and Henry Zittrower visited Roatan by sheer coincidence. Like so many of the hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit this island on any given year, philanthropy was indeed not on their agenda for the day. Henry, a retired project manager for Blue Cross Blue Shield had long since retired. The couple, like so many, embarked on a cruise for their 39th wedding anniversary. They hailed a cab at the Port of Roatan and started driving. They were traveling through Flowers Bay and witnessed a line of children in their Sunday best walking up toward a church barely standing over the ocean on supports that were “like pine needle sticks or something”.
After returning to Jacksonville the issue continued to surface, “How do we help?”
Six months later on a return trip to Roatan and during a tour of La Colonia, Henry noticed a young girl carrying two large buckets of water toward her home many meters up on one of the mountainous peaks in Roatan’s largest barrio. With one sentence and without the slightest hesitation Henry remarked, “We can take care of that.”
The rest is history. Subsequent travels were made back and forth between Jacksonville, Florida and the island. Soon the couple was building a house next to La Colonia, which is divided into four districts, Balfate, Monte Carlo, Bella Vista and Policarpo.
On the Policarpo side, neglect of the region’s water well had resulted in the manual digging of ground water and shallow wells by the local Hondurans of Roatan. The end result was that many children living in the Colonias grew sick and sadly three children died in 2007 from drinking contaminated water.
This is where Henry and his team began their mission. Three plans were laid out,
- an emergency plan
- a short term plan
- a long term plan.
In 2004/2005, Henry Zittrower drilled a private well outside the Colonias and connected his well to the Colonias to enable more of the local people to have access to clean water.
The height of the first well that was dug outside the Colonias was 375 feet (114.3m) deep. At the time it cost $65 per foot to dig a well, which comes to an astounding subtotal of $24375 for the construction costs of the well, which was carried out by workers from the capital city of Honduras in the mainland, Tegucigalpa. Further money was then spent on buying a submersible pump that would be installed inside the well. The past couple years have seen much progress and since Living Water 4 Roatan’s inception the emergency plan has finally given way for Henry’s short term plan of access to water through much of La Colonia every 8 days, hopefully this will soon be shortened to three days.
The ultimate and final target of LW4R is to provide clean and purified water in every home throughout La Colonia and to build a community center to further meet the needs of the community.