La Ladrillera is a small rural coffee village in Guatemala at the base of the mountains. It is about a 3 hour drive from Guatemala City.
*image found at www.bized.co.uk
Interesting facts about the village include:
The village has approximately 600 families and 3000 people.
Water and Electricity:
The village has electricity for a limited number of hours per day.
Water for the village flows from the top of the closest mountain. A system of tanks and pipes was installed in the 1990s that catches the water and brings it to the village. There is an adequate quantity, but no water pressure. Families can fill up a large trashcan every 3 days - then they use a smaller bucket to use the water for cooking, flushing the toilet, bathing, etc. The water system needs some new pipes as there is a certain point where the flow is restricted.
An open creek runs through the village. The village uses this creek for sewage. A large trash pile is also adjacent to this creek, where villagers bring their trash.
There are several community buildings in the village - a large event building, a school building, a small building used as offices and a small medical building. We built a library for the village in 2009 and stocked it with books.
Roads and Transportation:
The road from the main highway to the village is approximately 3 miles long and full of extremely large potholes. It is very difficult to travel on this road, particularly in the rainy season. A second road enters the village from the adjacent town of Chocola - it is about 1.5 miles long and is paved except for about a half a mile segment closest to the village. Some of the main streets in the village are pavers, but the other streets are dirt.
There are some cars and motorcycles in the village, but most of the people either walk or ride the public bus to the nearby towns. Public buses pass through La Ladrillera 3 - 4 times per day, but can be very unreliable.
The school building was built about 10 years ago and is in good condition. There are 23 classrooms and 23 teachers. There are 145 kids in kindergarten, 487 kids in elementary school, and 199 kids in grades 7-8.
The government funds the salaries of the teachers and superintendent for the school.
There are very few kids that go beyond the 8th grade - those who do ride a public bus to nearby Mazantenango - about 30 minutes from the village. A very few go on to some form of college.
There are 23 classrooms and 1 computer room. There are 23 teachers and according to our contacts in the village they are good teachers. The furniture in the classrooms is for small children, but the Jr High students use it also.
Most of the village families are Christians. There are a number of very small churches, including Catholics, Presbyterians, and Evangelical Christians.
A large percentage of the families seem to be a traditional family, with a Mom, Dad and 2-3 kids. Extended families living together or next door seems to be the norm.
The children in the village are happy, but malnutrition is a big issue. Guatemala is the 6th most malnourished country in the world.
A large percentage of the homes in the village are wood shacks with a dirt floor and metal roof, housing large extended families. There are a few nicer, concrete houses primarily built with money being sent back by a family member from the US.
FLF's Bamboo Housing Project is changing the village landscape with the construction of quality, affordable homes using local resources and employing local people.
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