After we left San Marcos la Laguna, we went to visit Tecpan where our friends, Heather and Greg, have founded Project Somos Children’s Village.
It is an eco children’s village and the work, the land, the buildings are amazing. They are doing really ecologically and culturally sensitive construction. The exterior building walls are made of sandbag construction, making them “earthquake proof”: which is a significant upgrade from the usual “kill you twice” cinderblock construction used in the seismically active land.
The interior walls are made from plastic bottles that have been stuffed tight with plastic bags. In a land where there is no away and no recycling and no real garbage collection, this provides a great use for a very durable product.
These houses will provide long term homes to seven single mothers and 49 children at a time. In a land with thousands of orphans, this is extremely important. Sadhu and I wanted to stay and even more we wanted to have more money so we could contribute more. (By the way, you can adopt a wall –and get your name OR YOUR MOTHER’s NAME–memorialized for Mother’s Day!) Like most things, a few American/Canadian dollars goes a long ways in Guatemala.
Project Somos works with many North American families. This spring they hosted dozens of high school students from Vancouver who constructed the village’s wall. Starting this year, they will host families during holidays, such as Christmas, who would like to mix some volunteer labor in with their sunshine and culture.
Tecpan, like almost everywhere in Guatemala, has a real stray dog population. It also has some beautiful ruins. So, next year, when you decide to spend your Christmas holiday building sand bag houses for orphans, you will have lots of fun getaways as well and you can bring home a really cute dog, too.