Presentation on theme: "San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala continued… (Part 2)."— Presentation transcript:
San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala continued… (Part 2)
Education Land without other institutional amenities does not necessarily lead to poverty reduction. The following photo shows a school house constructed for the children of the community of Santa Teresita. In general, in San Lucas Tolimán, the parroquia has assisted in the construction of 17 schools, which is about 17 more than would have been constructed if the community had waited patiently on the government.
Health Care In 1964, when the sister parish relationship began, there was essentially no formal health care available in San Lucas. The parish built a small clinic that welcomed anyone regard- less of ability to pay. It soon became apparent that a new full-service hospital was needed. The following photos shows the hospital in mid-construction (1995, 2001). It has since been completed and is serving hundreds of patients.
Health care continued… Father John Goggin, in conjunction with the medical community, facilitates medical outreach to outlying aldeas (villages). In the photo below, a medical volunteer (Karen) attends to the needs of patients who rarely get to see a doctor.
Jobs To eliminate poverty, a number of pieces of a complicated development puzzle have to fit together. Employment is one of those pieces. In 1964, there were few skilled workers in San Lucas. A new building (Casa Madre, in the following photo) was needed to house Catholic sisters from the US coming to start the education program. A fateful decision was made to use the existing labor force and local materials in its construction, rather than import skilled outside workers and materials.
Casa Madre: beginnings of the apprenticeship program
Jobs continued… The construction of this building (as with many other community projects) followed the subsidiarity principal as articulated by E.F. Schumacher whereby greater development occurs when more stages of production are undertaken at the local level. In this particular case, a local stonemason on the project shared his wisdom with a number of volunteers. They, in turn, gained valuable experience which they used to obtain jobs or to start their own businesses.
Apprenticeship program The valuable learning that took place with the construction of Casa Madre led to the creation of an apprenticeship program. It’s really pretty simple. If you are down on your luck and need a job, you come to the parish and lay out your situation. You’ll be asked two things: a) What would you like to learn to do? and b) When can you start? You’ll be put to work on any number of parish-related projects where you’ll learn valuable skills. The aforementioned hospital is a good example.
Apprenticeship program continued… The apprenticeship program is especially targeted at the community’s youth. Drugs, gangs, and violence are always more appealing when a young person has few opportunities in life. The following photo shows a young apprentice, Luis, and his foreman, Angel, in front of a home under construction. Luis told me that he was grateful for the opportunity to be off the streets and learn a trade. The next photo shows past apprentices running their own factory.
Homes and reforestation To provide families with housing, one needs lumber. To provide lumber, one needs trees. To provide trees, one needs forests. Unfortunately, forests are in short supply in Guatemala: too many people competing for too little land. So, San Lucas started a reforestation program. Experimentation with Cypress trees has produced fast growing hardwood trees that can be used for home construction and other projects. The seedlings are used to help reforest the mountainsides.
Homes and experimental farming Providing families with land and housing is a noble goal. But, how can they put food on the table when there is so little land to be distributed—3 acres at most? An experimental farm was developed to try to answer this question. Lots of work on soils, yields, composting, and such, has provided families with valuable information. With a careful combination of corn, beans, squash, citrus trees, chickens, rabbits, and perhaps an acre devoted to the valuable cash crop coffee, it is possible to get by.
Experimental farm: note the (light- colored) mulch from coffee bean skins.
Water projects In lieu of the kind of government services we take for granted in the US, the parish fills in many gaps, one of which is the provision of drinkable water. Andres Chajil has been in charge of water projects from the outset. (Following photo). For every new parcel of land that is developed, a water source must be found. The other photo shows a water line extending from Lake Atitlán to outlying communities that went without water for years.