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Water Rights for Xequepen & Quizachal


While dining at a local small restaurant in the town of Uspantan, Guatemala, the UbF team of 2009 was approached by the leaders of the two small Mayan villages of Xequepen and Quizachal. They shyly asked for a few minutes to present the team with a proposal to help them procure water rights to a spring.

Project: Xequepen and Quizachal are neighboring villages that have a combined population of 900 people. Currently, the women and children walk long distances to find water and return with jars of water on their heads. They use the water from the irrigation ditches for bathing and laundry. Securing ownership of this spring would be the first step toward one day allowing them to build a water system bringing running water to each of their homes.

Community Profile: Most people of the villages speak only the Mayan language of K'iche. The main source of income is the subsistence farming of corn and beans.

Funding of project: United by Friendship agreed to assist the villages under the condition that they form a joint water committee to oversee the supervision and use of the water and could show documentation that egress rights had been obtained for the laying of pipe for a future water project. Upon meeting the conditions, a partnership was formed between United by Friendship, the local county government and the villages in which UbF committed to cover 62% of the cost of the spring rights.

Celebrating Purchase of the Spring: In March of 2010 a team of UbF volunteers joined the villages in a joyous celebration of the purchase of the spring rights. The village leaders presented each team member with a basket of fruit with the team member's name on it. The students performed traditional dances which were followed by speeches expressing appreciation to UbF for its contribution toward their project. They are now starting to explore avenues toward procuring materials for the construction of their water system.

 

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