Isabel and Kenneth’s household consists of four adults and a teenager, all who have been living on the Navajo Nation Reservation without running water literally for their entire lives – and the two eldest are now in their 50s.
To get water to serve all the family’s needs – drinking, cooking, bathing and washing – they must drive six miles round trip to a Navajo Housing Authority complex to fill containers of water, enough to last them all a day or two.
The family lives in a log hogan (sacred traditional octagon shaped home) that does not even have indoor plumbing or fixtures, which is fine because all they have been hoping for is an outdoor hydrant to save them from driving back and forth for water.
Running Strong’s vendor, Judy Mitchell stated that, “they have a nice log hogan. Isabel and the kids sometimes stay at the NHA housing… due to no running water while Kenneth stays at the hogan hoping one day they’ll get water.”
In February, they received a call from Running Strong’s field contractor Charles R. Chee informing them of the Running Strong “Diné Naabeehó Tó Challenge” project connecting families just like theirs to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority’s main water grid service line which runs through the reservation.
“Actually, I was waiting for some kind of funding or program for the water projects,” Isabel told us, which explains the reason why her family did not have water. Running a new water line is expensive on the reservation and many families can’t afford it, especially anything that runs more than 500 feet. Isabel’s waterline is 750 feet.
However, in this case, thanks to the supporters of Running Strong, we were able to make an exception.
Working closely with our long-time Navajo vendor Judy on the reservation who also knew that Isabel “has been waiting a lifetime for water,” agreed to work with us on a discounted price to have a hydrant installed outside her hogan.
This week, Running Strong project manager Cassandra Chee-Tom, was pleased to announce that Isabel’s project had their meter tapped Thursday, June 27th at 1:45 p.m. and the team is running 2” water pipes today Friday, June 28th focusing on installing 1” house services (curb stop, meter can and domestic stop) while being monitored by the NTUA water department.
Once the project is complete and all fees are paid the family will have a hydrant installed with clean running water just a few feet from their front door, instead of miles away, which will be a blessing to the family.
“Isabel mentioned it’s hard hauling water every other day in winter and bad weather,” said Cassandra.
“This is what we do at Running Strong with our Diné Naabeehó Tó Water Challenge program on the Navajo Nation,” she added. “We change lifestyles for the better.”