Friday, August 5, 2011

Ready for the weekend

Hi readers. I hope this post finds you well and warm in the states!

Yesterday we had school presentations to two classes of sixth graders and two classes of first graders.

The sixth grade presentation went well—Herbert was able to explain what our group was and the importance of the project as well as its implications in their lives. Afterwards we had the students draw pictures illustrating how water was important to them. We also planned to do a presentation with groups of students with our Easygel kits; we wanted to do a demonstration to illustrate why it was important to always boil their water and use it in a safe way. We ran out of time with this group but with the materials left outside, a lot of students came up curiously to ask what it all was. With such a group I used the water from the kitchen tap at the school to show how they could see the kinds of bacteria present in their water. They were very interested in the whole procedure and asked a lot of good questions. 

After we had the first grade classes. 

The presentation went about the same except with the teacher translating into k'iche'as some students had not learned Spanish yet. We all thought this was good because the teacher got the students very engaged by making them answer questions, making sure they understood what we were saying. The first graders loved the demonstration which we did outside. Once we went through the procedure ourselves the students wanted to try it as well. The results take five days to appear but I expect they will be eagerly waiting. 

In project related news, things are not progressing as we would like. The drill specialist who promised us could do the job of drilling holes into the wet well walls disappeared-- leaving the job unfinished. These holes need to be finished so the suction lines can be installed. Without these holes done at the upper and lower pump station, no water will flow to the community. Yesterday, the water committee went to Xela to find a person or a machine to do this. They found a specialist with a tool large enough to complete the job -in one day-but we are less optimistic. 

The repairs of the pipeline and other tasks that need to be completed have been progressing so slowly that we now predict there is a very very small chance that the system will start up while we are here. However frustrating this seems, it is of vital importance that the committee and the workers complete this project with little assistance from us. It is important that they have ownership of the project and understand what needs to be done so that in the future when something goes wrong, they can get the people, funds and work together to fix it. Their dedication to the project is astounding--from carrying materials down to the pump sites when conditions are hazardous to gathering people and extra funds together whenever something does not go as planned to housing the workers from outside the community and much much more. Even though this trip has not gone exactly as we planned, we know it was important that we are here right now.

But all is not so bleak, we have been told very many times how much our work is appreciated and by being here we have ensured that several things have been started. 

Last night the team made an impromptu visit to Xela to take care of some business and get a nice meal together. This weekend will be one of finishing up work in preperation for a (hopefully) busy week proximo semaña and having some fun as the students plan on taking a hike up the Volcano Tajumulco with the Quetzaltrekkers. (Check out their organization—it is very cool, all volunteer run and the proceeds to fund an orphanage here. They always need volunteers so check it out!) 

Since the last post there has been rainy days, site visits, a basketball game with Cata and Nancy, gifts to the family, a quick meeting with John Barrie and a member from ATC who will be acting to ensure the sustainability for the project after implimentation and more.

¿Alguien tienen preguntas?

PS: We have some pretty great pics but its been hard to try to get anyting up on the site. Will try other methods later. 


  1. Careful on the Quetzaltrekkers hike! We DID NOT put this in the HASP report and I hope you have all the PPE equipment you need for the trip.

    Great point about the community learning to be independent. That's the goal, after all. Hope the drill situation works out...