Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wednesday in NSCI!

The Guatemala Travel Team arrived back to their homes at around midnight on Monday and prepared for the semester to start the very next day. Now that we're back in the secure internet of New Jersey, I want to quickly summarize the rest of the trip in a couple of posts.

On Wednesday, Martin, Sam, Sandy and I went up to the Head Tank at 6 AM to perform a similar tank study to the previous day, but with different valves. Dave, Austin, and Ericka relieved us a couple hours later so that we could head back for some warmth and breakfast. The day also involved two meetings, one with the Municipality and one with the community. Ericka took lead on presenting to the Municipality, and described the history of the project, the main needs for the system now, and the agenda for our week in NSCI. The current mayor thanked us for our time but then pointed out that he would soon be leaving office and that there was nothing he could do anymore to help the office. We were not expecting much more from him, as we were aware that his last day in office was the Friday of that same week.

Ericka presenting to the old Municipality of NSCI.

After the meeting, the team headed back to Angel's house to regroup and prepare for the Town Hall meeting. Unfortunately, I got sick and was not able to attend the Town Hall meeting, but the rest of the team did a great job. Over a hundred people from all of the neighborhoods in the community attended the meeting in which Martin and Ericka presented about the history of the project and necessity of water conservation and water meters. A previous Water Committee head named Angel helped the team translate from Spanish to Quiche, the local Mayan dialect, so everyone in attendance would understand. Many people in the community spoke up about protecting the water they had and treating it as a special resource. People at the Town Hall meeting also seemed much more open to the idea of water meters than previous years responses, a key for the sustainability of the system.

The team handed out surveys and pamphlets before the meeting started. Thankfully there was plenty of time for this because the meeting started right on Guatemala time, aka an hour late.

Project lead and translator, Martin Liza, presenting to the Town Hall.

After the meeting, the team headed back to Angel's house for dinner and to discuss reactions from the meeting. It was discovered that a majority of surveys collected at the Town Hall showed favor for water meters, an unprecedented notion in the project. The team then prepped for the following morning, which would start at 5 AM with the final Head Tank tests.


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