The village of Chuixil is located in the municipality of Joyabaj in the Quiche Department of Guatemala. When EWB-USA withdrew groups from Honduras, in which we had been working on water projects for years, members of the Honduras program began to search for new projects to work on. EWB-NEU applied to partner with the Guatemalan community in June 2018 and immediately began preparing for an assessment trip for December of that year.
Upon completion of the trip, EWB-NEU made a “go” decision for the project that will involve the design and construction of a school building, kitchen, bathrooms, and access road. This will be the first time an EWB-NEU program has committed to a structural project, after its long history with water projects. We are very excited to take on this challenge.
The community of Chuixil has a population of about 200. There is an existing makeshift school, comprised of bamboo walls and a tin roof. This school currently serves about 40 children, and that number is expected to grow in the coming years. Members of the community have been extremely vocal in expressing their desire for a permanent structure in which their children will further their education in a more safe, comfortable environment.
During our first assessment trip, we collected soil data, surveyed the project site for an idea of the topography, and visited example schools in the region designed and constructed by other EWB chapters. We also gathered input and statistics from the community through a questionnaire that we administered at a community meeting in which we explained our project and established a partnership with the community. We also held a meeting with the mayor in which we signed the Community Partnership Agreement, in which all stakeholders agreed to the specifics of the project. Overall, this trip allowed us to start developing a positive relationship with both the community and the EWB office of Joyabaj. Implementation for the project is scheduled to begin in December of 2019. Our chapter is extremely grateful to the community of Chuixil for welcoming us into their homes and giving us the opportunity to work together on this project. We hope to continue our involvement in Guatemala as we did in Honduras.