In response to high levels of illiteracy in the region, the Mirador Basin Project initiated literacy education courses in the evening for its workers, the CONALFA literacy program.
An important component of the research and conservation work in the Mirador Basin is the social, educational, and developmental work with the communities that surround the Mirador Basin. The purpose of such activity is to provide economic alternatives to the negative forces that wreck havoc on the environment, the archaeological sites, and individual lives and families. It is tremendously gratifying to see the achievements and accomplishments of people who traditionally have had so little hope. The opportunities that are provided by the project represents a major advantage for the protection and preservation of the area, and represent a real solution to many of the problems facing Guatemala and the Lowland communities that live adjacent to the Mirador Basin region.
Computer Training for Villages
The Mirador Basin Project provides a trained computer teacher for the communities of Carmelita, Cruce a la Colorada, and Dos Aguadas, with classes taught in Carmelita to 54 children from 2nd through 6th grades. In addition 12 adolescent females and 14 male students are enrolled in computer classes, and efforts are underway to incorporate evening classes for adults in the village of Carmelita. Computers provide new dreams and new opportunities for students in the surrounding villages, by Acts of Kindness Foundation (AOK), and FARES, GHF, PACUNAM. A special thank you to Terry Young (AOK) for his willingness to collect, refurbish, and transport the computers, generators, first aid equipment, medicines, and school supplies top Guatemala.
Literacy and Educational Training
Mirador Basin Project teaches literacy courses to 141 workmen, with the majority learning to read and write their names, read elementary texts, and to read and write numbers. Math courses are also given for basic home and business financial calculations. In addition, the Project provides educational classes to all 320 workmen employed in the Mirador Basin on subjects ranging from history, ecology, financial consulting, hygiene, health and first aid, archaeology, photography, ehtnohistory, investment strategies, botany, and biology. The Project staff teaches courses in the evenings.
Literacy classes for project workmen have been an integral component of camp activity in the Mirador Basin since 1991. In 2006, the National Council of Literacy (CONALFA) program was implemented at El Mirador. The CONALFA curriculum enables teachers to work with students according to their individual educational needs. Out of 220 workers, 160 workers chose to participate in evening sessions. Diplomas were presented on site to those that completed the course. Course curriculum included subjects ranging from history, ecology, financial investing, hygiene, health and first aid, archaeology, photography, investment strategies, botany, and biology.
The project contributes directly and indirectly to the communities adjacent to the basin and contracted labor with more than 320 workers. Labor recruitment also extended to other parts of the Peten. More than 35 workers were highly trained Maya masons and consolidation experts from Coban, Alta Verapaz. Additional services were contracted during field season as muleteers, cooks, guides and kitchen assistant. The scientific and technical team included more than 40 people. To accommodate this work force, FARES implemented three camps. El Mirador, Tintal, and one roving camp during the regional surveys conducted in the south of the Mirador Basin.
Eco-Filters for Water Purification, Villages
Mirador basin Project and Eco-Filters de Guatemala joined together in distributing 185 filters to the communities of Carmelita, Uaxutun and Cruce de las Dos Aguadas. The remaining 35 filters were dedicated to the Mirador Basin park guard stations. The project was coordinated by Josephine Thompson of Fares and Philip Wilson and Maribel Ixcajoc Arevalo of Ecofiltro, which included important training on the use of their filter system, hygiene, and use of the filer system so as to improve the health situations in the communities.