Meet Xóchitl, the Kid Who Brought Warm Water to Her Community Using Just Recycled Materials
When it comes to science, many might be tempted to think that only adults can achieve great things. Nevertheless, there are kids with brilliant minds whose ideas could turn the world upside down for the better and maybe even save the environment. That’s what happened in the case of Xóchitl Cruz, a Mexican girl who wanted to help people with low incomes gain access to warm water at home. To make this happen, she built a boiler powered by solar energy with nothing more than recycled materials. Her invention had such a positive impact across the country that, even at just under 8 years old, she won the Nuclear Science Institute Award for Women given by the most renowned public university in Mexico, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (known as UNAM).
Bright Side cannot stop celebrating these great accomplishments that inspire us to move forward in the right direction. That’s why we wanted to share the story of this young scientist who not only earned a prestigious award but also proved that it doesn’t matter where you come from or where you were born as long as you set clear goals and work to get there.
She was a scientist since the age of 4.
Since she turned 4, Xóchitl showed great interest in science and innovation. She began by taking part in a program called Adopt a Talent (PAUTA for its initials in Spanish), which was created to promote science among the youngest Mexican boys and girls through experimentation, analysis, and research. In other words, its main goal is to bring science closer to talented young people all across the country, allowing them to use their scientific ingenuity for the benefit of their community. During an interview with a Mexican newspaper, Xóchitl said that PAUTA played an important role in her budding scientific career by giving her the opportunity to work on mini-projects that would lead her to gain more experience.
“Warm, comforting shower,” or “baño calientito,” a project with a great positive impact
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Xochitl’s town, is located in a southern state of Mexico called Chiapas. Despite being close to the jungle, San Cristóbal’s weather is rather cold most parts of the year. However, many people living in the area have no access to any modern type of water heating system. Most of them gather logs to use as firewood or simply shower with cold water. That’s why the young scientist decided to come up with a system that could be used to obtain warm water in a cheap way. Having warm water at home could prevent people from getting sick due to low temperatures while at the same time, saving them money that they would’ve used to pay for medical attention otherwise.
Xóchitl’s invention was finally built and she called it “baño calientito” which could be translated in English as “warm, comforting shower.” Baño calientito has another great advantage over firewood heating systems. It could potentially help save San Cristóbal’s surrounding forests that are currently being cut down to be used as firewood. It took about 2 weeks for Xóchitl to develop her product, which is made of 10 plastic bottles, 2 meters of hoses, 2 wooden planks, and 2 crystal doors taken from an old cooler. After assembling it, Xochitl’s father helped her to install it on her house’s roof. After school, she’d take care of testing the capabilities of the boiler and kept a log of the water temperature.
A happy daughter with very proud parents
Although Xochitl never imagined how far her project would take her, after seeing the positive impact it had on the community, she couldn’t help but smile, and with reason: her idea has helped a lot of people in San Cristóbal while at the same time contributing to save the planet. For Xochitl’s mother, seeing how much her little girl has accomplished at such a young age thanks to her perseverance and dedication makes her proud. “It’s really moving to see how your daughter is recognized for her work,” she commented to Mexican media. Without a doubt, the values her parents instilled in her are one of the reasons behind her great success, and beyond that, her family’s support has helped her reach her goals.
Her future plans and the beginning of a promising scientific career
After creating her invention that brought great satisfaction to her and those close to her, Xochitl’s planning on creating a new boiler, this time with some upgrades to prevent it from leaking heated water. In order to do it, she wants to replace the plastic bottles with solar panels to see how it works and if it’s more efficient than the original model. As you can see, this is only the beginning of a brilliant career that started during childhood. It’s very clear that Xochitl, who now is 10, is a great example to other kids from her community (and the world) and continues to show how dreams can come true with work, dedication, and of course, a little bit of help from her parents and the rest of the community.
What do you think of this initiative? What would you like to share with Xóchitl? Let us know in the comments!