April 17, by Ingrid

Another day in El 20 had just started. Little by little we were getting used to the routine of waking up with a concert of birds and dogs barking as back voice.

The breakfast table with delicious food and drinks prepared by the lovely Doña Rosa were waiting for us in her backyard. The sun rising, the dogs surrounding our table, the turkeys speaking “turkish” with us (yes, we learned to speak “turkish”! :p) just created an amazing atmosphere and gave us even more energy to accomplish our goals for the day.


Photo © Jan Ahlstedt / ALM 2015

At the Casita (Eco Hostel), we started planning on how to conduct the interviews. With the help of a map of the village, we divided it by sectors because we wanted to interview families from different areas of the village. The labbers were divided in two groups: the “water team” and the “sanitation team”. Due to lack of time and because we wanted to interview as many families as possible, we created two subgroups containing labbers from both sanitation and water teams. The idea was that the sanitation team would focus more on questions related to toilet (septic tank and dry toilet) and the water team would ask more specific questions about water quality, source and use. In addition, they would take water samples from the households. Most of the villagers did not speak English and some of the labbers did not speak Spanish. Therefore, at least two Spanish speakers were in each group, so that one could ask the questions and the other could translate the interview simultaneously to the non-Spanish speakers.


Photo © Jan Ahlstedt / ALM 2015

So, the plan was set. We finally got started! Walking for the first time around the village under blistering sun, trying to find the first family to be interviewed, thinking about how to approach them, how they would react to us, made us realize that it would not be an easy task.

Finally, we saw a young lady in her front yard, her name was Anna. We greeted her and introduced ourselves. Although very shy, she accepted to participate in our survey. She had a very vague idea about dry toilets, but after we introduced the idea she really liked it.

We chose a second family who had a huge yard with a lot of animals and fruit trees. Helena and Luis, the house owners, showed us all their water storage and they were quite aware of the well water quality as well as the concept of dry toilets. Luis said that the government has built dry toilets in some households but never instructed the villagers on how to use it. He was very motivated to have a dry toilet so that he could produce his own fertilizer and improve the amount and life quality of their plants.

We managed to interview five families and all of them were very friendly and open to discuss these topics. Most of them were satisfied with their toilets and would not make any change in it. On the other hand, if they could change something in the community, they would improve the water system, i.e. water harvesting, distribution and quality.


Photo © Jan Ahlstedt / ALM 2015

The sun was about to set, we walked back to the Casita very exhausted but with a smile on our faces for having accomplished our goal for the day.

After working hard we had a nice gathering to share our experiences and get to know each other better. And that was when we realized we are not just a good team, we are AWESOME!


Photo © Jan Ahlstedt / ALM 2015

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