Calvario Dos School Water Project – Guatemala

Caserillo Calvario Dos, Aldea Paquix, Chiantla, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Community Description
Calvario Dos is a small village located in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. As part of the Aldea of Paquix, it sits at an altitude of over 10,500 feet, atop the Sierra Cuchumatanes at the tail end of the Sierra Madre mountain range. With this altitude often come nights with below-freezing temperatures, and it is not uncommon for the ground to be covered with a thick morning frost, or for the water in outdoor pilas and deposits to be frozen.

This village has only recently received electricity, though not to the new school building, and there is only one water faucet to support all 150 inhabitants. During the dry season, which last for a full six months, the water faucet that the community depends on will often run dry, leaving only the option of walking to collect water in the nearest communities where the faucets are still running. This can be an all-day chore at the height of the dry season due to the distance and lines that people must wait in.

During the day, the intense sun bakes the landscape as it turns the cheeks and hands of everyone red, leaving lifelong scars that people develop from an early age. Most of the population is of Mayan descent, but have lost much of their culture, including the indigenous language.

Being something of a unique culture in between the mainstays of ladino and indigenous, the people here most commonly identify themselves as “campesinos”, or farmers. This is fitting, considering that virtually all of the people that live atop “la cumbre”, or summit, are sustenance farmers, relying on rainy season harvests for income and survival.

The Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta Caserillo Calvario Dos is a small school with only 35 students and one teacher, who is also the director, and has the difficult task of teaching every grade, 1-6. The students come from 16 families, which make up a large number of the community.

The students currently must bring water in bottles from their homes every day to the school.

Project Description
This project is to build a water tank, rainwater catchment system, and handwashing station at the school.

The original concept was to build an 8,500-liter eggshell water deposit tank. This was to consist of an underground water deposit, topped off by a concrete dome, with holes for access to rainwater and a lid for the top.

The original concept was nixed because it was decided it that may be vulnerable to children playing around and on top of the tank, compromising its stability and lifespan.

The determination was made to use an alternative design, to be built entirely above ground. It will be a square tank, utilizing a cinder block. It will hold more water, about 10,000 liters in total. It will include a handwashing station in the design.

As the new design is more costly, the Seeds of Help Foundation will make up the difference in order to complete the project, and also will assist in its construction.

The rainwater catchment system will be made up of a larger class of PVC pipe, which will be held in place with wire and small iron rods. It will catch the rain from both sides of the school to maximize the rainwater harvesting potential, especially during dry season, which may see a handful of very precious rains.

Members from the community are already organized and are willing to supply the labor needed for completion. The process of building the water tank includes a couple of periods of a week or more for concrete to dry. From start to finish, it will take just under one month to complete. With each step along the way, a minimum of two parents from the school will be participating.

Also, community members will provide sand to mix with the cement. The project funds will go toward transportation and materials, which will include cement, chicken wire, bailing wire, PVC pipe of two different classes, cement glue, nylon sacks, and iron rods.

Project Impact
This project will most benefit the 35 students and one teacher at the school. In addition, the whole community of 150 community members who attend meetings at the school will benefit.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Barrett Bumpas

This is a necessary and important project for a community in dire need of a safe water supply, especially in the dry season. Great care was taken in choosing the appropriate technology, and the project has the backing of the entire community.

Dollar Amount of Project
$ 555.00

Donations Collected to Date

Dollar Amount Needed

$0.00 – This project has been fully funded, through the generosity of The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust as a part of their Clean Water Projects initiative with the help of friends and family of Peace Corps Volunteer Barrett Bumpas.

We encourage others to continue to donate using the Donate button below, and we will notify Barrett of your donation. Additional funds will be used to fund the next project by Barrett and/or those of other PCVs in the country of service.

This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.