District 7890 Clubs Fund Water and Sanitation Projects in Guatemala

Twenty-five Rotary Clubs in northern CT and Western MA (Rotary District 7890) have joined together to fund a project that will bring fresh drinking water to two needy communities in Guatemala.  One other village will receive funding that will supplement prior donations by providing similar improvements. Including matching funds from The Rotary Foundation a total of $96,857 was raised.  Adding this amount to the funds raised during the previous ten years brings the eleven year total to $625,295.
 
Contributing clubs were from Avon-Canton, Bloomfield, East Hartford, East Windsor, Enfield, Farmington, Kensington-Berlin, Killingly-Brooklyn, Manchester, Newington, Rockville, Simsbury-Granby, Stafford, Suffield, Torrington-Winsted, Watertown, Wethersfield-Rocky Hill, Willimantic and Windsor-Windsor Locks, CT along with Massachusetts’ clubs in Holyoke, Ludlow, Northampton, Pittsfield, West Springfield and Wilbraham/Hampden.  Three Rotary clubs from neighboring Massachusetts/Rhode Island District 7950 - East Greenwich, Wakefield and Westerly, RI; four in southeast Florida’s District 6990 - Ft. Lauderdale North Beach, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, and Weston; two from District 5030 in Washington – Lake Forest Park and Seattle #4; one from District 7040 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada; the Rotary Club of La Antigua, Guatemala in District 4250 and the private Fondation Coup de Coeur contributed funds to achieve the goal. 
 
Two Districts, 7890 in Northern Connecticut and Western Massachusetts; 5030 in Washington contributed $10,000 and $1,500 respectively in District Designated Funds.  Such contributions are matched dollar for dollar by The Rotary Foundation in Global Grants thus resulting in a total of $23,000.
 
These funds will build complete gravity fed water system with gray water filters, vented pit latrines and improved vented stoves for the 90 families (510 people) who live in the rural communities of Cojulya and Pachaj, Guatemala.  The village of Xesajbin (50 families/300 people) will utilize these funds to supplement previous donations so their system can be finalized. These are projects that continue the goal of Rotary International to have every Rotary Club support an international water and sanitation project every year.  By working together, pooling their resources and obtaining a Global Grant with matching funds from The Rotary Foundation, the Rotarians have been successful in adding size and strength to their chosen projects. 
 
District Water Committee Chair and Manchester Rotarian Rick Lawrence again spearheaded the drive to raise the necessary funds by making presentations about the project to the Rotary clubs throughout northern CT, western MA, and central RI as well as several clubs in south eastern FL and one in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  In March he and his wife traveled to Guatemala to visit the three villages that were funded the previous year.  While there, he documented photographically the improvements and expressions of gratitude displayed by the members of the village, utilizing these during his presentations and showing the Rotarians how important their past contributions were to these indigenous Mayans.
 
The project’s implementation will be coordinated through the host partner, the Rotary Club of La Antigua, Guatemala and its cooperating partner, ALDEA (formerly Behrhorst Partners for Development), a non-profit organization with ties to over 70 communities in Guatemala.  ALDEA helps train community-chosen people as a health promoter, a village dispensary manager and someone to oversee use of medical emergency transportation funds.  ALDEA also provides extensive training in sanitation, personal hygiene, maintenance of the water system components, micro loans, nutrition, including help in school and home vegetable gardens, as well as educational talks about family planning and birth spacing.  In Guatemala over 50% of children suffer from chronic malnutrition.
                                                     
This Rotary project will help address some of the basic causes of poor health in this area, and will help the villagers address basic sanitation – water systems, gray-water filters and latrines – in order to help prevent the constant illnesses that afflict the population, particularly children.
 
Photo Caption:   At a recent meeting of the Manchester Rotary Club representatives from clubs contributing to Xesajbin, Cojulya and Pachaj, Guatemala water projects are as follows (L-R):
Front Row:
Patrick Kennedy - Manchester;  Lee Ann Morrone – Newington; Past District Governor Kyong Wilson; District Governor Elect Dave Mangs;  Past District Governor Michael Barnett; District Governor Frank Wargo; Denise Menard – East Windsor; Milton Rosenberg – Enfield; Past District Governor Susan Atkins.
Back Row:
Rick Lawrence – Manchester Rotarian & Project Chair; John Walker - Willimantic; Tom Accomando – Holyoke, MA; Past District Governor Richard Borden; Ed McCarron – Holyoke, MA; Marc Glass – East Hartford; Carl Buhrendorf – Avon/Canton; Norm Famely – Bloomfield; Jim Clancy – Wethersfield/Rocky Hill