The San Marcos, Guatemala & District 7630, USA Rotary Connection

Welcome to the San Marcos, Guatemala & District 7630, USA Rotary Connection Web Page!

This year Rotary District 7630; which is comprised of the Rotary clubs of Delaware and Maryland's Eastern Shore, USA is involved with two very exciting projects in partnership with the Rotary Club of San Marcos, Guatemala:

April at CUSAM
(Centro Universitario de San Marcos)

The overlap of these two projects is so significant that it is difficult to discuss one without the other.  Rotarians are frequently asking me "How's the water project?" or "Has April settled in yet?"  So this becomes the purpose of this web page ... to facilitate and enhance communication within and between the Rotary Club of San Marcos and the Rotary Clubs of District 7630.  I expect this page to be a work in progress so I'm going to start simple, pictures with captions, and let it develop from there.  I welcome any suggestions and would be happy to field any questions, so please contact me at with either.

I'll begin with an excerpt from an email sent to me from April on August 25th.  On August 22 and 23, about two weeks after April arrived in Guatemala, she and three other women from Delaware traveled to San Isidro to visit the site of the potable water project.

The families in San Isidro have been full of anticipation of this project and when we arrived we were treated like dignitaries/saints. The degree of respect and emotion in the school room where everyone sat on wee little chairs was palpable. (The chairs were meant for the children, obviously, and were way undersized for the four tall Norteamericanas in the room). We introduced ourselves, members of the community spoke of their need and their appreciation to Rotary, and we found a way to use up all those blue wrist bands you gave to me, Jen, by saying that these were our bonds of solidarity around drinkable water (how nice they were blue too). If I had had more of those bands I am sure every person in San Isidro would be wearing one. It was quite touching when we gave a photo of Carlos to his father and mother--everyone wanted to see it and everyone wanted more info on the other San Isidro folks in Delaware. On our walk around the scattered farmsteads (if that is what you could call these patches of cultivated earth where crops, animals, people, and buildings totter on steep, often eroded slopes) everyone wanted us to stop and come into their humble adobe houses with hardened earth floors. Inside the darkness of the house, we were seated on handmade benches and brought bowls of black beans and plates of fresh, hot tortillas. Then we were handed a cup of "mosh", which is a sweetened diluted hot oatmeal beverage. The people of San Isidro were incredibly kind to us and shared their meager provisions.

Comite de San Isidro on water project
(the man on the left is holding a Newark Rotary Club banner)



Here is the team of Delaware women who made the 8 hour ride in a pick-up truck from San Marcos to San Isidro to visit the site of the potable water project.  From left to right is Laura Dvorak (UD alum, now in grad school in Oregon), Sarah Archbald (UD alum who will be in San Marcos until mid November), Catherine Singley (UD senior who spent three weeks in San Marcos in August), and April Veness (UD professor).  Also getting in the picture is a village pooch.

Gracias Dios we had our sleeping bags with us for it was cold that night due to lots of rain, and the second day we were up to our knees and hub caps in mud as all roads, where any road existed at all, were unpaved. The morning we left we literally slid down part of the mountain, an experience I do not need to have again. And at the advice of the locals we soon detoured to take the better (paved) road down the mountain--a road which happened to land us in Mexico. In a flash all four of us gringas were undocumented travelers, having left our passports in San Marcos. Luckily when we passed through the Mexican immigration check point the officer was sympathetic and uncorrupt: he allowed us to pass and did not ask for any bribe. Though we did have to pay one bribe in Guatemala to get to San Isidro. The bribe of 50 quetzales (about $6.50) we paid to a group of men who were filling deep mud holes with stone and refused to let us through without payment, on the argument that they were improving the road for us to use. Not a whole lot different from a toll-way maintained by the locals instead of the government.

"The Bribe"
The travelers paid to get through this road block.  Ever, from Caritas, has his hands over his head in exasperation while the three UD students wait at the truck.

April (right) is dancing with a resident of San Isidro.  This woman is the mother of Carlos, a gentleman presently living and working in Georgetown, DE and also providing communication assistance between Rotary and the village of San Isidro.  The Delaware women were the special guests of this family and were treated to a cup of hot tea and then a little entertainment on the marimba.  The gentleman in the background playing the marimba is Carlos' father.

This photo was taken in Georgetown, Delaware in July, 2006 when a contingency of District 7630 Rotary representatives met with men of San Isidro living in Delaware to discuss the potable water project.  Carlos, who is mentioned in the caption above, is standing between Catherine Singley (left) and Jen Reider in Georgetown, DE.  Catherine is a student at UD who has generously supported the water project with her Spanish-English translation skills.  Jen is the Rotary project contact for the international cosponsor, District 7630.


In the photo above one of San Isidro's water project committee members shows the North American visitors the spring that provides water for the village.  On the right, a San Isidro women fetches the portable, but not potable, water from the spring.  It is a 30 minute walk from the village to the spring to collect water.

This photo was taken inside a home in San Isidro, where the North American women were fed breakfast before being given a tour of the village.

A gathering of San Isidro folks looking at a photo of Carlos and his sister Amanda, both who live and work in Georgetown, DE.

Click here to get to know the Rotary Club of San Marcos, Guatemala

Click here to get to know the Rotary Club of Newark, Delaware, USA

This web page maintained by Jen Reider, Rotary Club of Newark, DE.