When Diego first approached me about his community’s potable water project, I gasped. I was used to funding “small” water projects, like the delivery and installation of individual water filters, at a price ranging from $70 to $121 depending on the type purchased and how far they had to be transported to be delivered. They were bite-size and manageable because you could determine how many to purchase, and space them out according to the success of a fundraiser.
The potable water project in Chujupen Guatemala (near Chichicastenango) has a price tag of over $100K, fundraising for which is quite the daunting task. After a Facebook fundraiser that raised a little over $1,000 and a very generous single donation of $5,000, we were able to make a dent. There is still plenty of work remaining, but with the funds we sent, they were able to complete over a half mile this week! Work began on Monday the 4th, and today they are beyond tired, but exceptionally appreciative of the opportunity to do this work.
The potable water project is governed by a municipal committee where citizens have rotating two-year obligatory commitments to serve, which includes meeting with the engineer and knowledgeable professional and also participating with the actual labor. The committee does not pay for the labor (it is voluntary) and all donations raised go directly to purchasing the pipes to get the clean water from source to destination!
The work is long, and back-breaking. They do not use modern equipment. Check out this video of a man trying to break up a rock in the middle of an area that was trenched with a sledgehammer:
Gotta love the hard-working people of Guatemala. Their complete hearts and souls are in their work. They even have Mayan priests come to bless the area and their work, and choirs that sing songs of praise and celebration. You would not find this in the US or Canada! (The smoke produced by the burning of incense, candles and other offerings take the prayers to God.)
The Chujupen Potable Water Project has been documented before, as far as needs analysis, costs, organizations and committees in place, etc. However, what you haven’t seen yet are photos like these!!!
If you know of a person or organization that would like to help fund a project like this, even a small chunk, please direct them to our site! The committee will be ready for the next batch of work as soon as the funds become available!