Katarina Hermosa and her daughter Maria live in La Libertad, a village that was settled by the Peace Accords after the Guatemalan civil war. She weaves “qüipiles” (traditional shirts worn by Guatemalan women) which are sold in Guatemala City. One children’s qüipile may take her one month to weave if she works on it full time. She can sell it for about US$12.
La Libertad’s water system consisted of a single spring that was fed to a single faucet for each household. This spring often ran dry during the summer months. Katarina and her family would spend several hours each day collecting water from the neighboring villages and mountains during these months.
In January 2010, Aqua Para La Salud (a Guatemalan not-for-profit organization funded by international aid organizations) partnered with US Engineers Without Borders (University of Wisconsin and Milwaukie chapters) on a water expansion project in La Libertad. They added an additional spring and a chlorination tank to the existing water system.
Since the expansion, Katarina has not had to spend time collecting water. This leaves her more time for weaving, which makes more money for her family.