|While working as a Peace Corps volunteer with coffee farmers in the high hills near Coban, Guatemala, I found one of the great paradoxes. Even though it rains often, (called Chipi chipi by the Mayans), drinking water is scarce. The women carry water in buckets for many miles every day. Talita Kumi, the non-profit organization I worked with, were helping some of the farmers build concrete cisterns to collect rain water from the roofs of their huts.|
The Peace Corps does not give financial help, but encourages volunteers to help non-profit organizations solicit financial help. Being a longtime Rotarian of Thomaston, CT, I asked our Rotary club to take on the project of building 48 cisterns in a small town called San Luis Tontem. The total cost to Rotary was about $12,000 and each family in San Luis Tontem contributed $250 in addition to that. The people in the community build the cisterns.
Rotary international shared half the cost and many Rotary clubs from Connecticut made contributions. The funds were sent and the total number of cisterns that could be built increased from 48 to 63. Over 40 have already been built at the time of this writing.
The Thomaston, CT high school has an Interact club (under the umbrella of Thomaston, CT Rotary club) and the students worked hard to earn a substantial contribution for this project.
We'll keep you up to date on this project. There are some great snapshots in the photo album Guatemala cistern project.