Water Missions Mexico
Location: Chiapas, Mexico
Projects installed through FY2013: 56
Language- Spanish, but many tribes in Chiapas speak languages deriving from their ancestral Mayan heritage
GDP Per Capita- $3,300 (the lowest in all of Mexico).
Population- >4 million.
Poverty Level- Only 50% of households have running water, 25% infant mortality rate, and 21% illiteracy rate.
Religion- Catholicism along with pre-Hispanic Mayan rituals,
although it varies by tribe.
Climate - Country has a humid, tropical climate.
Brief History - One of the poorest regions in the world, let alone Mexico. Settled and harvested by the Mayan tribes early in history, the country still shows signs of its previous culture today.
Program Overview - The Water Missions Mexico program was first established in 2007 after our eyes were opened to the dire need for safe water in the country. In the non-developed communities, 3 out of every 10 inhabitants don’t have safe water. The states of Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca are the most affected, so this is where we work in Mexico. This part of the country is culturally different than other parts of the country, so we’ve spent time trying to understand the communities’ needs and how we can best help them. In March 2012, Water Missions Mexico hired Johnny Bermudez, a new project manager, who will be focusing on new safe water projects and supporting previously installed safe water projects.
Interestingly, three communities in Chiapas where we have implemented safe water solutions have been designated as "Comunidad Saludable" by the state health department-"Healthy Community." Santa Maria, Tortuguero the second, and Jerusalen (all Ch'ol communities) have all received the honor and recognition by the local health authorities for the significant improvements in health and hygiene practices thanks to the benefits of the Living Water Treatment System™ (LWTS™). Each community has a small billboard placed along the highway near the entrance in recognition of the achievements they have made in healthy living.
A story from the field: Nueva Palestina- At the installation/dedication ceremony in March 2010, approximately 1,000 men, women, and children gathered for the celebration! The WMI staff at the dedication scrambled and bought-out all the plastic cups from nearby stores to distribute the clean, purified water, and still ran out of glasses. The community (Tzeltal) is the largest served by WMI in Chiapas to date with a total population of roughly 15,000 people. It is very remote-a two to three hour drive from the nearest town, located in the jungle and the population is almost entirely made up of relocated and displaced peoples from other jungle areas.
To donate to our Mexico Country Program, please go to my.watermissions.org/donate and designate Mexico Country Program.