Guatemala: Well Water
Founded: January 2009
Project: Deep Wells in Rural Guatemala
Location: La Fronterizo and Canton Liberdad, Guatemala
The Guatemala project is partnered in the villages of La Fronterizo and Canton Liberdad, which are located on the northern border of Guatemala, walking distance from Mexico. The project originally started in 2004 and implemented two wells, one in each community, in 2007.
The current Guatemala project started in January 2009 and should be implemented in May 2010. Originally, the group was informed of a corn grinder failure, which is very detrimental for the community because corn tortillas are their main food in the villages. The students were also supposed to design a sugar cane press as a means to obtain profit.
In addition, a water team was assembled to look at the wells in the community and improve the shallow wells surrounding the communities. They researched the availability of various materials and looked at reports of the previous trips.
An education team began making manuals for the eventual designs and educate the communities on health. The team researched looked at what kinds of education could be passed on to the communities. They also gave lessons in the local language of Spanish to the rest of the team.
The assessment trip took place in November 2009. The team discovered that the corn grinder that was supposedly broken, was running. In addition, the sugar cane press was no longer desired, because it was not one of the communities most abundant crops.
The team discovered that the villagers really wanted more clean water. The wells previously constructed were helpful, but their locations were far away and were severely depleted the dry season. The villagers of one community already began construction of new wells. The other community requested assistance in constructing another well.
Currently, the Guatemala team is designing deep wells for the two communities, an education program for the villagers, and working on their Spanish. They plan to implement the wells in early May 2010.
Fronterizo was established on May 10, 1995 by Guatemalan refugees returning from Mexico where they had fled during Guatemala’s Civil War. It is made up of approximately 300 indigenous people from all over Guatemala. The citizens are predominately of Mayan ancestry, but they speak Spanish within the community. A large percentage of Fronterizo’s population is less than 18 years old since most of the working population must leave the village to work or for continuing education.
The main economy in Fronterizo is subsistence farming using slash and burn agriculture and selling items on a nearby Mexican highway. However, remittances are becoming more and more common as many of its citizens are working abroad in Mexico and the United States.
Their political structure is highly democratic.
Fronterizo is located in a remote region of Guatemala close to the Mexican border on the Rio Ixcan. It is a 14 hour bus journey from Guatemala City (on a good day). Access to is limited to a rafts which the villagers use to transport people and goods from the road across the river.
After the civil war, the citizens of Fronterizo were worried about continued persectution so the Copper Country GuatGuatemalan Accompaniment Project (CCGAP) was founded. CCGAP's role was to act as protectors for the village during the unstable period following the civil war. To date, CCGAP helped Fronterizo obtain a day care center, sanitary latrines, mosquito nets, cooking pots, medicines, and scholarships.