Infrastructure Project Completion!
With the help from friends and family from home, USAID, the community/people of San Pedro II, the municipality of San Pedro, and cementos progreso, we were able to complete 41 sanitary infrastructure projects for the village of San Pedro II.
I am so thankful to everyone from home who has been so supportive throughout my Peace Corps service and also to those who financially supported this community to make these projects a reality. It is overwhelming to see how appreciative these families are for their new project and we have you all to thank for that! Here are some photos for you all to see the progression of the projects.
|The truck that was 5 hours late |
with the materials but at least it finally arrived!
|Some of the women with their bags of materials|
|Magdalena and Juana with their materials|
The 41 infrastructure projects took one month to complete. During the first round of visits the stoves were constructed but still unable to be used since it takes 3 weeks for the cement to completely dry. During the second round of visits, all stoves were already in use. The families have mentioned how much less wood these stoves use and also how they can cook more food that much faster since the stove top is much larger than just cooking on three rocks. Also, they have mentioned they buy 50% less firewood each week or each month. Furthermore, each family has mentioned how much cleaner these stoves are due to the decrease in smoke within the home. Overall, the families have been very pleased with their new stoves.
|Stove with the firewood already|
in place ready to be used.
|Some bought paint to give |
their stove a bit of color
|This stove was about 75% done.|
The families were very generous during the home visits as well. The presidents and I received countless cups of coffee, Atol, soda, juice, and plates of bread, avocados, and even cereal. At one point I was secretly handing one of the presidents my bread where she would then hide it in her apron. I don't think I needed to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner during the visits. One day we did 24 home visits in 7 or 8 hours. It was a very exhausting but rewarding day.
|Walking from home to home through the aldea|
with these lovely ladies
|The presidents eating their cereal and |
Atol at one of the promoter's homes. We were so full at
this point we couldn't stop laughing.
|The promtors' children decided to accompany |
us at one point. Just walking over
little planks like these to get to people's homes.
Part of the 41 infrastructure projects consisted of 10 latrines. The family had to dig their own 5m hole in order to receive their materials. Since the dirt is really tough and like "gum", it is not an easy task. Some families had to pay a mason Q500 to dig their hole. Here are some photos of the latrines.
|Promotor Maria with her latrine.|
|The kids posing in front of latrine|
|One of the bigger latrines. They wanted|
it this size so they can bucket
bathe in there as well.
More stove pictures...
|Magdalena and Catarina with their new stove.|
|This family received a floor and a new stove top.|
|This was the only house that I actually saw |
the male figure showing off the stove.
He even offered us juice as well!
|Pretty painted stove.|
|Family with their new stove.|
Project InaugurationOn Saturday afternoon, April 12th, we concluded the projects with a project inauguration. Although, they surprised me and made it my Despedida, or goodbye party, as well. Tears were shed, traje was worn, and gifts were given. I gave every promoter a note and at least one picture of themselves and they surprised me with gifts in turn. I still can not believe their constant generosity and appreciation. I was given traje bags, a moral (a bag that the men tend to wear), cups, a towel, and even a dish that said "I hope only the best of the best for you". It was a very emotional day as we celebrated not only the projects created in this community but also the relationships created and bolstered during my time with this community. These people have been my life for the past two years and I still can not believe it has come to an end.
|Juana and her daughter Eva surprised me|
with traje to wear for the day :-)
|One of the presidents Juana and me|
|In traje finally!|
|With the women making the snack (chao main)|
|COCODE Juan at the beginning of the inaugeration|
|Making my speech about |
how awesome the community is..
|They gave me a framed diploma!|
|Each promoter came up to give me a hug! |
I started crying after the third person..
|More hugs, more tears..|
|One family invited Veno and I to lunch at their |
house after the inauguration. The appreciation for these
projects truly has been overwhelming.
These women, COCODE, and family members, will always be a part of who I am. I will carry these memories and lessons throughout the rest of my life. Some of the most valuable lessons learned in my service came from these individuals. Although I only have nine days left in site I still can not process that I will not be working with these people anymore. I still feel like I need to be planning my next lesson or my next home visits. But reality sets in, and I will not be visiting that aldea anymore. In two weeks I will be leading a completely different life than the one I created for myself for the past two years. I look forward to the day I will return to these communities and embrace these friends yet again. But for the next nine days I will continue to live in the moment and enjoy every minute of my time here..
Once again though, I really would like to extend my gratitude to those who donated to these projects. You are all simply amazing and we could not say thank you enough for you to really understand how appreciative we are for your generosity.
From everyone in San Pedro II, we thank you all!