Guatemala Hope strives to enable every family to have adequate housing which is more than just four bamboo walls and a roof. The United Nations does not deem housing to be adequate if its occupants do not have safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, energy for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitation and washing facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal, etc.; It is the right of every woman, man, and child to gain and sustain a safe and secure home and community in which to live in peace and dignity.
In 2005 we started the Homes of Hope Project. Villagers are given applications The local committee reviews all the applications and makes a recommendation of their top priorities. A Canadian team visits all the applicants in their homes to get a clearer perspective on the family living situation. Together the two groups then decide who should receive the next available grants. To date we assisted over 70 families acquire a better living environment by providing money to complete a cement block house or by building the entire house.
When we first began to travel to Triunfo, they had a partially completed water system. The water tower was up and a deep well was dug but very few waterlines went to the homes. We were able to finish the lines and get a tap at every household. We continue to work with the village to teach wise water usage and maintenance of the system. Sporadic electricity and salt in the air from the Ocean have really adversely effected the water tower. The neighbouring town of Los Tiestos also has a water tower but it has no lines leading to homes and has never functioned. Seasonal flooding and animal waste can contaminate the wells and we are investigating water filtering options.
Air contamination is a major problem due to cooking over open fires, resulting in many respiratory health problems and safety concerns. In conjunction with SHARE we have done a stove building project in the villages, but are still finding smoke issues if stoves are constructed in-doors. We have also explored a smaller stove that is built in the highlands of Guatemala and can be purchased locally.
Due to ground contamination by human and animal waste we have also investigated the latrine situation. Our first project was to install flush toilets at the school in El Triunfo once we had water flowing from our water tower. A couple of homes in the village of Triunfo now have flush toilets.