Sanitary Latrines: the Chávez Velázquez de Xamíne Family

Rosa Maria Chávez Velázquez de Xamíne remembers the day that volunteer came to construct her sanitary latrine. “Seven or eight Americans came to build over two days,” she says. “The first day, they were here from 1:00-3:30 and the second day, they were here all morning.”

Prior to their arrival, Rosa had been busy for several weeks with preparations. She made sure to gather the materials, including the wooden slats, nails, hammers, adobe blocks, and cement. She also took the initiative to dig the hole for the latrine pit on her own. “It took me two straight days, but I did it!” she beams with pride.

Rosa’s determination to build a new, clean latrine was not unfounded. Her family of five previously used a seven-year-old latrine that had multiple problems. She shakes her head as she describes it. “It was made of small slabs of wood and a piece of laminate sheeting, nothing more. Also, it was in poor condition because it wasn’t built well.” The interior of the structure also had problems. “There was rust. And there were problems with the toilet bowl. More than anything, it was difficult to maintain or clean.”

Luckily, Rosa found a solution right in her own community. “The municipality told us that there were latrines available as a project and that they would be constructing them soon,” she says. “All they needed were photocopies of our paperwork.” She and her husband, Victor, applied to build a new latrine. They were soon accepted.

Rosa is grateful for the new changes that the sanitary latrine has brought her. “Now, it works well, it’s cleaner and easier to clean, and it’s so comfy!” she exclaims. “We feel great to have this latrine. It’s better than the old one and it serves us well.”

To the group of volunteers that came to build her latrine, Rosa is incredibly appreciative. “Thank you; I am so grateful to you. You have supported my family with a beautiful job well done. Thank you for giving your time.”