Salamit School – Guatemala

Submitted by: Maria Bartram | Location: Salamit, Guatemala | NGO: Agua Para La Salud | Date: Feb. 18, 2013

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This is a water system by Drink For Tomorrow. According to Lynn Roberts, head of Agua Para La Salud, DFT no longer exists but two of the representatives are starting independent projects.

Sheny Latisa (not able to get exact spelling) is the teacher that we spoke to and is pictured. She teaches grades K-3 and is responsible for 40 children at the school. There are 60 children total at the school and because the government standard is a 30:1 teacher student ratio, they have had to let go of 2 teachers and only have two remaining.

This school was moved last year to make the location more convenient for the town. The structure for the school is meant to be temporary until they raise enough money for a new structure. They have enough land for a school and an eventual soccer field.

Both the water tank and the toilets are new as well. Pictured here are children and teachers showing off their new toilets and using the water tank to wash their hands proudly. Also pictured is Lynn Roberts, making repairs to one of the faucets. Lynn instructed the students where the covers needed to be painted to protect them from rusting. The children were very excited to paint.

We also spoke to Lorenzo Ajzactamat (also unsure if he spelled that correctly), who is head of the committee at the Salamit School. The members of the committee are also pictured speaking with Lynn. The members are made up of parents of the students. Lorenzo explained that the mayor of the town agreed to buy the property for the school and soccer field, but they are still trying to raise funds for the water system to run independently for the 40+ families in the community. At this time, the water is being sourced by a neighbor with a personal spring, who wants to charge the community $10,000 for the rights of the spring. There is a photograph showing Lynn giving Lorenzo the tools to help with maintaining the tank and of Lorenza painting the cover. The community members are responsible for the building and maintenance of the water systems.

The Peace Corps have helped the Salamit School learn about personal hygiene by first instructing the teachers and then the teachers instruct the students. Each student has a “health nook” where they keep their toothbrush (ducks pictured) for them to brush after they have their snack.

The final two pictures are of the original toilet structure and original wash station (also called a “pila”). The wash station becomes a significant health hazard and malaria threat when it fills with standing water and breeds mosquitos.

The final picture is just outside the school by the road where pigs roll in the sewage. This is a perfect example of the needs schools and communities have for clean water to maintain their health and development.

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