Went to Chichicastenango (“Chichi”), shopped/checked out the market – approximately two hour drive from San Juan La Laguna
Visited with ASELSI (Association of Equipping the Saints International)
ASELSI had only healthcare opportunities for the time being and was rented out for the week; heavy focus on healthcare in future but some construction and perhaps some education opportunities
Drove to Panajachel (“Pana,” < 15,000 people) and secured a hotel (Posada de los Volcanes) that we stayed in till Friday - a hotel used by Mayan Families – about an hour to drive from Chichi to Pana.
Located “Mayan Families” building (Mayan Families is the largest nongovernmental organization – NGO – in Pana):
Mayan Families: https://www.mayanfamilies.org
Day Three: May 19, 2014: Monday
10:30am meeting with Hannah from Mayan Families and toured Mayan Families facility
Mayan Families is an NGO founded in 2005
The Mayan Families facility is split into 11 parts:
Store (for sales to visitors and donors – Mayan products – at fair trade prices)
Computer Lab (about 20 laptops)
Micro Finance Office
Met with Sharon Smart-Poage (cofounder/co-director of Mayan Families), Sara Luiza Kolata (architecture and green construction coordinator), and Hannah LaPalombara (volunteer coordinator). After brainstorming, the following ideas for OSU-Mayan Families projects were identified:
K-12 STEM education at schools
Definitely need cartoons with no language for experiment construction procedures (Prof. Betty Lise Anderson experiments) as mostly Spanish is spoken, but some Kaqchikel, and it is clear that the more advanced technical terms do not need to be introduced and pictures will suffice (in all cases?)
Preschool (Age: 3‐5) at Mayan Families facility – could do some STEM experiments for 5 year olds
Mayan Families also associated with middle school (K-8?) not within the facility
Middle school may be better for some STEM experiments
Mayan Families also supports schools for about 3000 people all over the area (around the lake) and these could also be candidate sites for STEM education
Showed DC Motor demo to a four year old who was interested in the project and capable of doing most of the steps
Construction Projects – Natural building
Research on natural building is needed (i.e. bamboo strength and adobe brick chemical recipe for construction)
Natural building (sustainable, local materials, traditional building) effort led by Sara, an architect.
Program format: Lectures/class (1 week)+Sweat work (~1 week)
Perhaps shorter term help is needed too, definitely for sweat work
Mayan Families has about 3000 students in area plus 200 schools they work with
Single Homes needs
Stoves (to replace open fires in houses)
Water filters (established system that they sell)
Rain sequestration system (gutters + barrels?)
Solar panels (with donor dollars)
New construction (in natural building program with adobe brick)
Renovation (roof, gutters, room addition, for example)
Sewing program: Learned about the sewing program that empowers women. Traditionally in Guatemala machine sewing is a male-dominated trade while hand-sewing is done by the women. Teaching women machine sewing allows women to earn more money to support their families. We saw a class in progress. We also saw the classroom for automated embroidering (laptops connected to embroidery machines). It seems that this program is also focused on empowerment of women.
Bamboo building for structures (research strength of bamboo joint building, particularly multistory structures)
Mayan Families takes care of that (usually Hotel Kaqchiquel)
Do they understand mathematical symbols (e.g. in STEM cartoons)?
The students we work with should know
Is there a local electronic supply store?
Should be able to find them (we sent them a list of needed parts and they will confirm that they are available locally). But later found out that the parts are not available locally.
Can we have a job description for the internship? An internship is a multiple-month stay outside an envisioned OSU trip.
Sara sent us job descriptions in an email for various different internship positions, and Hannah sends out general applications to interested students
Are they concerned with lighting in homes? (solar lights, light bulbs)
Easily incorporated into a house
Mostly financial need for donating solar, not many technological or research needs. D.Light not as good as Sun King pro ($23-$86) (durable solar panel and bright light)
There is a need to compare different types of light bulbs (LED are ideal but too expensive) and determine the amount of time a bulb needs to work to pay back relative to other bulbs, particularly, a compact fluorescent bulb. But, that study would only be useful to their donors – so they could create an argument for providing LED bulbs. Would have to take into account what is available in Guatemala.
Note: They have a 3-day workshop for women on creating and installing solar panels – for homes.
Is there interest in aquaponics?
Not really, they said we could start a project on our own but they weren’t looking to support such a project right now.
Is anyone helping people with disabilities? (wheelchairs and mental)
There is some work that can be done for people with physical disabilities (prosthetics for amputees etc.), but it doesn’t really fit what we are looking for
Would you get access to clean water if we installed wells?
Cheaper electronic answers (submersible pumps)
Would they be interested in making microfinance more computer automated?
“Mifos” has some multilingual micro finance software for the world www.mifos.org
It would be of value to test it out to determine if it is valuable for Mayan Family’s microfinance program, potentially cut down the size of the open source software, and they would need a computer with more computing power donated to handle that size software. Seems that they would need help to help the staff learn it.
Is there any way we could have the kids construct a 'computer'?
To be further discussed based with Prof. Betty Lise Anderson
Depends on how the initial STEM education projects go and on availability of electronic parts
Do you have a need for computers? They have a significant need for computers (laptops or desktops that have a flat screen monitor, but those may be more difficult to ship) (windows XP and newer). The preference for computers is those that have good computing power as it seems that many of their computers are not only old (in some cases >10 years) but ones without good computing power.
Do you have other IT needs? They have a need to have someone set up their network properly (make sure there are no dead zones on their wifi at their facility) and to set up network printers
Day Five: May 21, 2014: Wednesday
Visited local hardware store (checked for electrical supplies for STEM experiments, but did not find any)
Visited “Maya Traditions” another local NGO (but much smaller than Mayan Families)
Organization that works with women weavers, and natural medicine and sells product in the United States
Did not see an opportunity to work with/for them, but perhaps they could give people on our trips a tour of their activities (however, the only part that is different from Mayan Families is the natural medicine part)
Returned to Mayan Families and discussed fundraising possibilities for the HES program by working with the Mayan Families store. Would need to determine what the funds would be for (e.g., to pay for some product to be donated to some Mayan family). Idea now: Personalized hand-made bracelets from weavers to sell to OSU students
Visited San Antonio which is a likely construction site for Summer 2015.
Day Six: May 22, 2014: Thursday
Traveled to Universidad del Valle de Guatemala Altiplano in Sololá
Met Erik—the head of Engineering department at the university
The University only has an agricultural and forestry engineering program
Tour of Agricultural Engineering Experiments
Patrick Brown showed us the “No energy” cooler experiment
Met Liz-Anne Wheeler and Jose, a student who is conducting experiments with fungus as an alternative to pesticides, and they showed us experiments that were meant to improve the quality and quantity of post-harvest produce
Erik and Juan showed us the university’s greenhouse in which they were conducting different experiments with tomatoes and roses involving soil types and insect traps.
Returned to Pana and visited “Friendship Bridge Organization” (another NGO)