In April 2012, six Knox ProCorps volunteers traveled to Guatemala to construct a water system in cooperation with Project Ulpan in-country coordinators Kris Hatchel and Kevin Colvett and their families.
The water system was built in the village of Sesalche Uno and consisted of approximately14,000 linear feet of water line along with 35 spigots or “chorros” at individual homes and at the school and church buildings. Two 2500-liter water tanks were also installed to act as system storage as well as pressure breaks for the water system which has approximately 400 vertical feet of elevation change.
The village men participated side-by-side with volunteers to dig ditches, haul and string pipe, glue pipe joints, set chorros, valves, and fittings, and troubleshoot the system. This experience will be extremely valuable for the village water committee and the other men who will assist in maintaining the system.
Project Ulpan has hired Julio Caal, a local Q’eqchi’ man as the Water Technician for the valley. Julio has been involved in every aspect of the water system from planning to construction. His technical ability, leadership and compassion for the people of the valley are tremendous long-term assets to the communities.
A strong community spirit was also evident in the women of the village who welcomed the volunteer team with at least one meal per day along with many warm, cooked drinks as we passed each house.
Overall, the recent project was extremely successful, providing an estimated 600 villagers with reliable, clean drinking water. Throughout the phases of envisioning, planning, fundraising, and construction, the project fulfilled the mission of Knox ProCorps, creating community among professionals in the Knoxville area and working to build community with at least one impoverished area of the world.