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During May 2014, ESF students Jeremy Driscoll, Becky Meissner, and Tyler Pitts partnered with the Syracuse Professional EWB chapter to work on a sanitation project in Las Majadas, Guatemala. With the help of Peace Core volunteers and health workers in the area, a relationship between our group and community leaders was established. During conversations with the community, it was seen that basic sanitation and health practices were not in place. The purpose of our trip was to work closely with the community in the design and logistics of a latrine for a school of 400 students in order to improve health conditions. Overall hygiene and sanitation principles are not well understood in the community, which our project aims to identify and develop.
Currently, the community has an unreliable water system, and a school with simple pit latrines that are nearing the end of their design life. From this information, our team started to collect soil data to determine infiltration rates and surveying data for optimal location of a latrine. We met with community leaders and parents to get their opinions on the design and its location near the school. The parents and leaders have been excited with our options. With their input, we are designing a composting/ventilated-improved-pit latrine. This design will prevent the spread of disease through fly control, as well as treat waste without the need for a constant water supply/sewer system. This design will last longer and increase the health practices and hygiene of the community. With our help, we hope that the health of the community will improve and create a safer place for the education of the community.