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Irrigation system for Loma la Cal

Visiting the small village of Loma la Cal, Guatemala, had never been easy, as there was no road to it. One either hiked or arrived on horseback. The geographic isolation made it difficult for children to have access to education beyond the 4th grade level. The village people were sustained on the  beans and corn they managed to grow during the rainy season. 

In 2009, however, something very exciting occurred which transformed Loma la Cal. A dirt road was being built to their village. Francisco Urizar, the leader of Loma La Cal, succinctly explained the implications of this new road when he said, "With a road we have new opportunities. Our children can be transported to schools where they can continue their education, and we will have a way to get our produce out to markets." His vision was to build an irrigation system,  allowing them to have access to water year-round and thereby expand their crops to include squash, melons, peanuts, chili and tomatoes.   United by Friendship believes in partnering with small communities to stimulate economic development and selected the Loma la Cal irrigation project for 2009. UbF purchased the materials needed for channeling the water from a spring located six kilometers away. The cost was $13,000. The community provided the manual labor and the Uspantan county engineer provided the design and supervised the construction.

In April of 2009, a team of UbF volunteers returned to celebrate the completion of the irrigation system with the community of Loma la Cal. It was a joyful occasion. To the strains of marimba music, the people proudly escorted the volunteers to their fields where they demonstrated the irrigation system in action. They explained how they had joined a regional co-op and would be exporting their first harvest to California. This tour was followed by a program with speeches, a community luncheon and dancing.

The climax to the occasion was the unveiling of a beautiful memorial wall, built by the people of Loma la Cal, commemorating the irrigation project. The memorial incorporated a water fountain and a small garden, signifying the interrelationship between water and plants. On the wall of the memorial were marble tiles with the names of those that had donated $500 or more toward their project.

Thank you to all who helped to make the irrigation system possible for Loma la Cal. It is exciting to see the difference we can make when we work together, united in friendship and commitment.



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