WASH Project – Mariana Isabel Cahuec

Mariana lives with her husband and his family in the community of San Juan, Salamá, Baja Verapaz. Don Lázaro, her father in law, owns a small grocery store, and her husband works in the fields, while she takes care of the family chores.Habitat Guatemala’s Integral Water and Sanitation Hygiene Project (WASH) consists of the installation of a biodigestor, porcelain toilet, shower, water filter and the placement of a small tower and water tank in each household, to promote and allow better hygiene practices. When the family found out about this project, they knew it was a great opportunity to improve their quality of life.

In the community of San Juan, families have two sources of water, but neither of them are pure nor run consistently. That is why having a water tank is very important for families there. “Now, we no longer suffer when they cut the water, we have a place to store it, safely.” She continues, “with the water filter, it is much better now too. Before we had to buy water or drink it directly from the sink. Now, with the filter it is much better. The water does not taste like chlorine anymore and it stays fresh.”

(pictured the family’s old shower and pila) 
(pictured the family’s old latrine) 
(pictured the family’s new sanitary unit, including a ceramic toilet, a shower and a pila) 

Before receiving their new latrine and porcelain toilet, Mariana and her family used a shower covered with plastic and their latrine was in poor condition. “We feel better now, it is very different from where we used to shower before, it is much more comfortable now!” says Mariana. She continues by explaining about their waste water. “Before, when we showered, the waste water was left exposed on the surface, now we know, that it all goes to only one place.” With their new biodigestor connected to the toilet and shower they make sure its going to only one place and doesn’t further pollute the environment.

Overall, Mariana shares, “We feel happy with this project and the products.” She finishes by sending a message to the donors: “Receive all our gratitude for your support, Thank you!”

WASH Project – Olivia Velásquez

Olivia lives with her husband Benancio, and their 8 children, in the community of San Juan, Salamá, Baja Verapaz. While Benancio and the older children work in the fields, Olivia and the girls take care of the household.

Habitat Guatemala’s Integral Water and Sanitation Hygiene Project (WASH) consists of the installation of a biodigestor, porcelain toilet, shower, water filter and the placement of a small tower and water tank in each household to promote and allow for better hygiene practices. When the family found out about the project, they knew it was a great opportunity to improve their family’s quality of life.

In the community of San Juan, families have two sources of water, but neither of them are pure nor run the consistently. That is why having a water tank is very important for Olivia and her big family. “Thanks to God, we are more calm now, we have a safe place to store water, so we do not run out of it.” She continues, “when we did not have enough money, we used to drink directly from the sink. Having a water tank and filter has been a great improvement, because we drink don’t have to buy water anymore and we can drink safely from the filter.”

(pictured the family’s old shower) 

 

(pictured the family’s new sanitary unit, including a ceramic toilet, a shower and a pila) 

Before receiving their new latrine and porcelain toilet, Olivia and her family used a shower covered with plastic and their latrine was in poor condition. “Our old shower was covered with plastic. Now, it is completely different. It is much more comfortable to shower and we have our privacy,” Olivia says. She continues by explaining about their waste water; “My husband used to direct the water waste to the field next to the house. Now, we are not longer polluting the environment and it feels good.” With their new biodigestor connected to the toilet and shower they make sure its going to only one place and doesn’t further pollute the environment.

Overall, Olivia shares, “We feel content, thanks to God, all the products are working fine!” She finishes by sending a message to the donors: “We feel grateful with all my family for this project, Thank you to all the donors. May God bless you.”

WASH Project – Flor de María Chen

Flor (26) lives with her father, Manuel (63), and her three children, Arturo (12), Evelyn (6), and Lourdes (2) in the community of San Juan, Salamá, Baja Verapaz. Flor takes care of the children and family chores and her dad works in the fields nearby.

As part of Habitat Guatemala’s Integral Water and Sanitation Hygiene Project (WASH) consists of the installation of a biodigestor, porcelain toilet, shower, water filter and the placement of a small tower and water tank in each household, to guarantee and ensure better hygiene practices. When the family found out about this project, they knew it was a great opportunity to improve their family’s quality of life.

In the community of San Juan, families have two sources of water, but neither of them are completely pure nor running the entire time. That is why having a water tank is very important for Flor de María’s family. “We are happy with our water tank! now, we can no longer tell if the water is missing or not, because we always have it available,” she continues, “We used to boiled water from the sink but, sometimes we had to keep on boiling it because it had chlorine flavor and everything we drank had that flavor. So, we had to buy it. Now, it is completely different, we no longer have to buy it or drink it with chlorine flavor!”

(pictured the family’s old shower) 

(pictured the family’s new sanitary unit, including a ceramic toilet, a shower and a pila) 

Before receiving their new latrine and porcelain toilet, Flor and her family used a shower covered with wood and plastic and their latrine was in poor conditions. “It was very uncomfortable, especially at night because there were a lot of cockroaches and worms and I worried for my children. Now, it is completely different! I feel calm when they use the bathroom and shower by themselves. It is more hygienic and comfortable,” says Flor. She continues by explaining about their waste water; “We used to direct the water waste to the field next to the house, Now, with the water waste no longer exposed my kids can play safely.” With their new biodigestor connected to the toilet and shower they make sure its going to only one place and doesn’t further pollute the environment.

Overall, Flor says, “We feel happy and satisfied to be a part of this project. The products had made us feel safer and healthier, it has been of great improve!”

She finishes by sending a message to the donors: “Thank you who made this project possible! May God help you and guide you in order to continue supporting families in need.”

 

WASH Project – María Tomasa Dubón

María (52) lives with her husband, Guillermo (56), and their son, Kevin (20), in the community of San Juan, Salamá, Baja Verapaz. While Guillermo works in the fields, and Kevin as a barber, María takes care of the household.

As part of Habitat Guatemala’s Integral Water and Sanitation Hygiene Project (WASH) consists of the installation of a biodigestor, porcelain toilet, shower, water filter and the placement of a small tower and water tank in each household, to guarantee and ensure better hygiene practices. When the family found out about this project, they knew it was a great opportunity to improve their family’s quality of life.

Before receiving their new latrine and porcelain toilet, María and her family used a latrine in poor conditions for over 22 years and their shower was covered by plastic. “We felt bad, because when we showered it was uncomfortable. Now, it is completely different, we feel happy! every time we go now, we no longer feel uncomfortable,” says María. She continues by explaining about their waste water; “Before, the waste water was deposited into the ground, but now it is treated by the biodigestor.” With their new biodigestor connected to the toilet and shower they make sure its going to only one place and doesn’t further pollute the environment.

(pictured the family’s old shower) 
(pictured the family’s new sanitary unit, including a ceramic toilet, a shower and a pila) 

About the water filter, she mentions: “We used to buy clean water or drank it directly from the sink, but we no longer have to do so! with our new water filter we are saving money and the water tastes much better than the one from the sink!”

When asked about how she overall feels about the project, María answers: “We feel content! to finally have these products, thanks to God and to all the individuals that made this project a reality.”

Integral Water and Sanitation Hygiene Project in Baja Verapaz

Since 2011, Habitat for Humanity Guatemala has expanded the definition of a housing solution to include more than just homes. Although four walls and a roof over head are essential to a family’s well-being, one must take into consideration other components such as access to clean drinking water and proper waste water management and sanitation. It is for this reason that Habitat Guatemala created the Healthy Home Kit, which consists of a smokeless stove, a latrine, and a water filter, and has adapted the products that this kit includes over time. During the last week of February 2021, Habitat Guatemala concluded a one-of-a-kind integral WASH (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) project, further evolving the type of solutions that it provides.

Several years ago, upon visiting the community of San Juan, Salamá, Baja Verapaz, it was evident that many members of the community were in need of several improvements to their current sanitary situations. During the first field visit that was conducted by Habitat Guatemala staff, families mentioned utilizing dilapidated and precarious latrines and lamented inconsistent access to water. Upon learning of Habitat for Humanity Canada’s desire to support this community, a plan to implement a unique project was devised.

Over the course of one year, 56 families were involved in the construction and implementation of seven products within each household. Through the installation of a biodigestor and porcelain toilet, families now have access to a private space to use the restroom, and are assured that the waste is treated in an adequate manner. With the placement of a small tower and water tank, families no longer have to worry about whether or not there will be water when they turn on the faucet, rather, they have access to a consistent source of water. In addition, the construction of a shower and a pila (washing station) ensures that all 225 individuals who participated in the project can now conduct proper daily hygiene practices and prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Lastly, each family was the recipient of a water filter, meaning they no longer have to worry about contracting gastrointestinal diseases upon consuming water. To complement these solutions, Habitat Guatemala carried out several educational trainings to ensure that families understand how to use and maintain these products, ensuring the sustainability of the project.

The needs that San Juan presented prior to this project are not unique. It is Habitat Guatemala’s hope that we can continue to implement similar projects across the country. We are grateful to our partners, like Habitat for Humanity Canada, who realize the value of these type of interventions and who support us in our journey towards improving the quality of life of individuals across Guatemala.

Healthy Home Kit – Susely Can – Doug Amirault

Susely lives with her husband, David, and their 3 children, Antony(9), Madelyn (6), and Keyler (4) (36), Antonieta (21), José (18) and Elisa (17), in the community of Santa Lucía Utatlán, above Lake Atitlán in the departament of Sololá. David works in agricultre, while Gregoria stays at home and takes care of the chores.

As part of Habitat Guatemala’s Healthy Home Kit program families receive a smokeless stove, a sanitary latrine and a water filter. This helps them improve their health by giving them adequate access to proper sanitation, potable water and a smoke free environment. When the family found out about the project, they decided it was the perfect opportunity to improve their family’s quality of life.

“We used to cook over a “poyo” an open flame, for over 9 years, it was in a very bad condition. The smoke made us feel sick, causing us red eyes too,” she continues, “I feel content with my new stove now. There is no more smoke inside our kitchen, no more sickness and red eyes and the best part is that we save wood too.”

Before receiving their new latrine, the family explains that the old one was also in poor shape. “The new one is much easier to use for our children,” says Brigida. Things are going great with their water filter too. Now, they can drink potable water and not get sick.

Susely refers to their time with the volunteers by explaining, “We had a good day with the volunteers, they played with my children and built together,” she continues; “Thanks to all of the volunteers and to God! thank you for supporting our families and villages. May God bless you.”

 

 

Healthy Home Kit – Gregoria Saquic – Polly Knudsen

Gregoria (60) lives with her 4 children, Brigida (36), Antonieta (21), José (18) and Elisa (17), in the community of Santa Lucía Utatlán, near Lake Atitlán, in the departament of Sololá. Brigida works as a vendor, Antonieta at a bakery. José and Elisa are going to school while Gregoria stays home and takes care of the chores.

As part of Habitat Guatemala’s Healthy Home Kit, families receive a smokeless stove, a sanitary latrine and a water filter. Thishelps them improve their health by giving them adequate access to proper sanitation, potable water and a smoke free environment. When the family found out about this project, they knew it was a great opportunity to improve their family’s quality of life.

“We used to cook on an older stove for more than 30 years, it was in poor condition. It consumed much more wood, which cost more money too. The new one is different, it only uses half the amount of wood as the old one. We are able to cook all our meals at the same time. We feel content with it!” says Brigida.

Before receiving their new latrine, the family explains that the old one was also in poor condition. “Now that we have a new latrine, we feel happy and safe, especially all our nephews who also use it” says Brigida. Things are going great with their water filter too. Now, they can drink potable water and not get sick.

Gregoria and Brigida refer to their time with the volunteers by explaining, “We had a great day! The volunteers worked really hard as a team. It was all quite an experience to build the adobe blocks and share with them,” she continues; “Receive our greetings and may God bless you! Thank you all for your support. These products have served us greatly.”

Healthy Home Kit – Isabel Yac – Polly Knudsen

Doña Isabel lives with two of her daugthers and a grandchild, in the community of Santa Lucía Utatlán, in the department of Sololá.

Before partnering up with Habitat Guatemala to receive a Smokeless Stove, Isabel and Jessica, used to cook over an open flame on the floor called a “poyo.” “I cooked over a poyo for 63 years! It was very hard to cook in it, the smoke made us feel sick and gave us red eyes,” says Isabel.

They are really happy with their new stove; “It feels much better to cook with the new one now! We use less wood to cook. Now we do not have to go get wood so often,” says Isabel.

Before receiving their new latrine, Jessica explains that the old one was old and in poor condition. “The new one feels more private and comfortable, it is easy to clean. It is much easier for my mom that recently had a surgery, to use ” says Jessica. The family has also felt a difference with their water filter. Before they drank water directly from the sink, causing them intestinal distress. Now, it is easier and safer to drink potable water from the filter,” Jessica mentions.

About the day of construction, they recall; “We had a good time with all the volunteers. It was a fun day.” They finish by sharing a message to the volunteers: “We thank all of you for supporting us with this kit. We hope God blesses you and keeps you safe in your daily activities. Thanks for your efforts in providing us with these items.” – Isabel and Jessica.