Diné Naabeehó Tó: An Update from Tohatchi

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John and Shaunna live on the Navajo Nation in the small community of Tohatchi (Tó Haachʼi in Navajo) located in McKinley County, New Mexico.

For three years, the family is “still waiting” on the tribal list for water through the Indian Health Service (IHS), and hoping for their name to come to the top of the list.

Getting water for the family of six is no easy task.

“We travel 19 miles to Gallup (about a half-hour drive one-way) to haul water in 5-gallon barrels,” Shaunna told us.

What was especially frustrating for the family is that their hogan (a traditional Navajo home) is located less than 200 feet from the water line that runs through the Navajo Nation, but for the family it may as well have been 200 miles with the average cost of connecting a home to the water line being around $7,500.

But today is the start of a new life for them thanks to the supporters of Running Strong for American Indian Youth® who have made it possible through their generous donations to our Diné Naabeehó Tó program for them to have all the running water they need and a septic system for their household.

By next month they won’t have to drive some 40 miles for a few days’ supply of the water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing.

Critically important is that Shaunna’s daughter has serious health issues which require her mother to drive her daily into town in order for her to bathe.

In addition, “We are currently renting a porta-potty to make things more comfortable for her,” said Shaunna.

After practically giving up all hope of ever having running water at their home, one day earlier this year John and Shaunna were driving home when they spotted a vendor installing a septic system at a residence near their home who informed them about the Running Strong Diné Naabeehó Tó Challenge program.

The rest, as they say, is history, and for the family this Saturday, August 10, 2019, is truly an historic day that they will never forget, thanks to people like you who made it all possible.

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