A New Water System for Laguna Village School
With funding provided by a Unitarian Womens group in Indiana, technical advice from Plentys new long-term volunteer, Mark Miller, and the labor of 6 local residents, a new water catchment system has been installed at Laguna Village School. Laguna is a rural Kekchi Maya village of approximately 300 residents, and is a Toledo Ecotourism Association member village. Laguna School serves 91 students from grades K-8, and since 1999 has participated in the Plenty-supported School Feeding Program (SFP), which provides a hot meal to undernourished children. Since Octobers Hurricane Iris, they have been feeding all the kids in the school who wish to eat at school. The cooks are volunteers from the community, and their principal, Joan Palma, has been the coordinator of the SFP from 1999 until just recently. Previously, teachers and students had to haul water by bucket for drinking and cooking from the nearest hand pump, which is about 100 yards from the school kitchen.
Mark designed the cement platform base for the water tank, which has a capacity of 2500 liters (about 660 gallons). The tanks placement is slightly uphill from the school kitchen and teachers quarters which means water can be delivered to the kitchen by gravity. Gutter improvements have also been done for the school kitchen building.
Since Laguna School is being given a second tank of similar size, a concrete stand for that vat will be built near the actual school building that could be used to provide water to a faucet for hand washing, etc. The drainpipes from both systems will be linked to the school vegetable garden, which is approximately 50 yards away from the first vat, and closer to the second. The gray water will be collected and used for watering instead of hauling water from the creek or pump in buckets. We estimate a final total cost of less than $1000 for the Laguna system. Once completed, we plan to do the same for other villages, coordinating with the Pan American Health Organization.
This project was generously funded by the Central Midwest Women and Religion Committee of the First Unitarian Church in Indiana who wanted to support a clean water project to benefit women and children. They raised funds through proceeds from a womens spirit conference and sales of their music CD.