A visit originally scheduled for May, until COVID raised its ugly head, Rick and Elin Lawrence brought many handcrafted items and a slide show of the progress being made in the villages located in the Central Highlands of Guatemala.  Rick will soon be celebrating 42 years as a Rotarian with the Manchester, CT Club and he is the District 7890 Chair Water & Sanitation Projects.  This project began back in 2006 with a NGO called Aldea.  Their model required that the people in each village must provide all the labor.  Rotary funds are used only for materials.  Villagers also contribute with their own funds to maintain the equipment.  Now the project continues with a Rotary International Global Grant that matches $.50 per dollar.  In the 2018/2019 fiscal year, 48 Clubs from several Districts participated with a total of $235,600.  For the 2019/2021 period, Rotary Clubs from  11 Districts expect to contribute $112,969 with $56,485 from the TRF Match for the Agua Caliente and Paxorotot Village projects. 
A few facts -  1.1 billion people didn't have access to water without walking miles to collect unsanitary water and having to boil it before it could be used.  Think about that - we simply go to the sink and turn on the faucet.  30,000 people per day die due to water-related illness.  90% are children less than 5 years old.  Due to improperly ventilated stoves, children and adults suffer respiratory ailments.
What the project includes  -  Water systems with filtered chlorination systems with diesel-powered generators & electric pump, Vented latrine enclosures, safe vented stoves.  The villages must find a spring first and buy the land.  Then a system is installed to bring the water to the village and purified for use.  Each family received a spigot and contributes to the system's maintenance.  A sustainable latrine is built with appropriate shelter.  Each home gets a safe stove which eliminates smokey air in the home.  One village recently installed solar panels which eliminated the need for the diesel system.
The result  -  increased good health and well being, decrease in intestinal diseases, decrease in eye infections, decrease in respiratory ailments, and decrease in burns from the unsafe stoves.
We were delighted to present our check for $1,000 to Rick.
Handcrafts  -  Elin and Rick each year pack up school supplies and soccer balls (collapsed) into 4 suitcases to bring to the villages they plan to visit.  As they prepare to return home, they purchase as many handcraft items - scarves, bags, wallets, water bags, totes, beaded jewelry - as they can fit into those 4 suitcases and sell them to the Rotarians they visit.  The money earned from selling these items provides the funds need to fill those 4 suitcases for their next trip to Guatemala.  If anyone wants to buy something really unique and beautiful, contact the Lawrences at elawrlaw@sbcglobal.net.  They are living in Charlestown, RI until October..