At the Cojulya School, they have a rain catchment system, as you can see from the orange piping leading to the top of the tank. This particular system was dedicated to “Dr Mack” (see plaque), who was a Guatemalan native and pediatrician who spearheaded the Healthy Schools Project and trained the Peace Corp for the past 12 years to teach schools how to practice good hygiene. He died unexpectedly last spring.
Two photos show a student in a purple sweatshirt using the system to wash her hands. We interviewed Julisa Alaman (wearing striped shirt), who is 13 years old and in the 6th grade. She has many cousins in the school and extended family in the area. She explained to us that there was only one sink for 54 students before last year. She has noticed far less sickness in the past year because of their ability to practice hygiene with the new system. Before, because of the long line that formed at one sink, they chose not to bother to wash their hands and brush their teeth. Julisa plans to go on to study medicine and be a pediatrician and then return to this area to practice. At this school, 50% of the students have the potential to go on to university.
(As a side note, Lynn mentioned to me that there is a high incidence of suicide amongst the high school age group due to their inability to afford or have the tools to go on to college and wind up working on a farm.)
There are photos with Lynn showing the director of the school, Helbert Arana, how to maintain the tanks by clearing the clogs below the faucets. He has been teaching the 3rd-6th grades for four years at this school and lives in Carasuto (sp?). He said that before this water system was put in, there was no water in the community after 5:30 pm. With the new system, they are able to have water both day and night as long as the system holds up. Lynn gave Helbert tools to help with the maintenance of the tank.
I have also included pictures of students washing their bowls after their snack.