After 3 weeks of living in Chiapas, I’m halfway through completing my practice experience! 😀 At the end of week 2, I traveled to the municipality of La Concordia with the FCA staff in charge of the program NuestrAgua Franquicia Social (Our Water Social Franchise). The purpose of the 2 day visit was to conduct a diagnostic questionnaire of various communities that could potentially benefit from the implementation of a Kiosco Azul (blue kiosk), a water disinfection system operated by local women who provide safe and affordable drinking water to their communities while participating in the local economy. So far, Fundacion Cantaro Azul has implemented 4 water kiosks in the state of Chiapas. On the field visit, the community members shared information about some of the living conditions in rural communities; for example, it was common for them to say they had unstable electricity service but sometimes received high electricity bills. In addition, some people consume boiled or chlorinated water, run out of water when the source dries out or the pipes break, or purchase water at high prices from the trucks that pass by the communities selling water from privatized purification plants . The Kiosco Azul is an alternative source that strives to provide safe drinking water at an accessible and fair price.
In week 3, I traveled to the communities of Tziscao and La Independencia to learn about the water kiosks that had already been installed by FCA and local women in the community. The purpose of the visit was to volunteer in the kiosk and ask the women about the kiosk’s progress. I learned how to clean and fill the garrafones that are delivered to the community members at a price that is often more affordable than what other brands charge. For several days, I had the opportunity to learn about the lifestyles of the residents that live off the land and value the conservation of the natural environment. It was a beautiful experience that reminded me about the things that really matter in life beyond those that are materialistic. Moi and I also traveled by mototaxi to explore some of the local lakes and then walked to the border between Mexico and Guatemala. I sat on the line that represented the border and took some time to reflect on the ways in which immigration and borders affect the lives of so many people around the world. I thought about the relationship between immigration and poverty, the families separated by borders, the children who have to endure the journey across the border alone, those who don’t make it to their destination for various reasons, and the unjust immigration policies that have led to the creation of dehumanising language used to label migrants in the US and all over the world.
The kiosk in Tziscao
“Don’t extract plants. Don’t throw rocks” Exploring Tziscao Coffee beans