WHAT IS WASLALA?
Waslala, roughly fifteen times the land area of Manhattan, is a remote region located in central Nicaragua. Traveling to Waslala from the capital of Managua involves a seven-hour journey on treacherous, muddy mountainside roads.
Waslala is home to 56,000 residents, most of whom live in the 90 rural villages outside the town center. Nearly all communities are only accessible by hiking or riding mules for hours through the humid rainforest.
Waslala was center stage during the US-funded Nicaraguan Contra war of the 1980s, which destroyed what little infrastructure was present in the region. Today, most Waslalans earn less than $2/day, have a fourth-grade education, and lack access to even the most basic human needs: clean water, electricity, telephones, sanitation, and health care.
Matt Nespoli, Nora Reynolds, and seven other Villanova University students first traveled to Waslala, Nicaragua in 2002 on a two-week service trip. The group had learned about Waslala through the work of another organization, Free the Children, which built 50 schools in Waslala in the 1990s.
Matt, Nora, and the other students on the trip were deeply affected by the poverty and lack of infrastructure in Waslala, as well as the beauty and warmth of the people they visited.
During the trip, the Waslalan people indicated that their most urgent need was to access clean drinking water. Matt and Nora returned home convicted to find a way to end the Waslalan water crisis, and in 2004 created Water for Waslala (WfW) to do so.
Since its inception, WfW has provided 2,500 Waslalans with the clean drinking water they deserve ñ water that will last for a lifetime.