MONTE PLATA – Queen Letizia opened her agenda of activities on Monday in the Dominican Republic with a visit to a project to improve the supply of potable water to rural communities, so that locals can drink it and know it’s healthy.
The queen was able to see in detail how the humanitarian program was working in the Nueva Esperanza community in Monte Plata province, some 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Santo Domingo.
The purpose of the visit was to highlight the activities that the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Aecid) has carried out in recent years in matters of drinking water and sanitation for rural areas, one of its priorities in the Dominican Republic and in which some 42 million euros ($49 million) have been invested over the past 15 years.
The project, financed by Aecid for a total 120,000 euros, began four years ago to serve some 1,000 locals, who until then had only the drinking water that local authorities sold them twice a month.
“Our life has changed 100 percent. Now we have water to drink and for the home,” said Yajaria, one of the women who accompanied the queen during her tour of the community, chiefly composed of unstable shanties.
Water from wells in the area is stored in two 5,000-gallon tanks, and once chlorinated, the water is distributed to different founts from where the locals can take it home.
The tanks are opened twice a day for two hours, said Sister Flor de Maria Galan of the congregation that received the Aecid grant.
Queen Letizia was at all times very warm and friendly with the local women, and thankful that they opened their homes to her so she could see what their daily lives were like.
The locals used the moment to ask the queen to intercede on their behalf for the next step – paving the streets, laying sidewalks and installing sewers.
“We’re very thankful that the queen chose this poor, simple neighborhood. It has raised morale in the community. She has been very close to us,” Sister Galan said.