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.”