Monday, August 16, 2010

Vetiver - Santa Cruz Newsletter


Information on the ongoing battle to reduce algae and nutrients that feed it that we received from Cynthia Davis in Santa Cruz la Laguna which is very interesting as to what this plant can be used for. Normally not a good idea to introduce plants into a new environment, in this case Vetiver is non invasive and should actually be since it seems to be more helpful than planting trees. Follow the link above to contact Cynthia for more information, and better, if you are able to contribute, let her know. We will try to keep everyone informed as to new information about this plant being used in Guatemala and hopefully soon around Lake Atitlan.


Vetiveria zizanioides o Chrysopogon zizanioides

Solutions for erosion, landslides, water treatment, phosphorus and other chemicals

Roots of 3 meters!
Uses of Vetiver:
• Soil and erosion control, landslides in rivers and lakes
• Waste water improvement
• Extracts phosphates and other chemicals from water: Phosphates
(~90%), Nitrogen (~94%)
• Handicrafts: weaving baskets and more
• Mulch for the garden, coffee, etc.
• Thatch for roofs (repells insects!) - 50 cm thick recommended
• Potential use for the control of fleas on pets, clothing moths,
• Adobe bricks

• Not invasive
• Easy to propagate
• Inexpensive
• Tolerates diverse growing conditions
• Aesthetically pleasing
• It is aromatic!
• Benefit of many years of research - since the 1980’s

1st Latin American Conference of Vetiver: 14 - 16 October, 2010, Santiago, Chile

More information (English):

Mas informacion (Espanol)

Friday, August 13, 2010

13 sewage treatment plants

The recovery efforts in the basin of Lake Atitlan continue. For the next five months, the program 'Todos juntos por el lago', coordinated by the Government, together with other ministries and local governments, hope to build 13 sewage treatment plants with an investment of Q25 million. That's not all, later adding other 10 similar works, which bring in other Q20 million. Program coordinator, Ana Mendez, detailed that for the remainder of the year are focusing on the construction of 13 water waste treatment plants. Of these, two are almost finished, 5 are being build and another 6 are about to begin construction. "The investment in these projects adds up the Q25 million, which comes from state and municipal governments," he adds.

Mendez says that by 2011 they hope to build 10 extra plants to a total of 23 treatment plants, which will operate in each of the communities along the lake. These 10 will cost Q20 million, funds they hope to include in the General Budget for next year (read: Millionaire recovery).

Brief history of Coffee

Coffee stimulates the global economy, in more than one way, and has played an important role in the development of the capitalist production and conumption system.
Writing for, Nicki Lisa Cole provides a brief history of the production and consumption of coffee, highlighting that the grain has become a massive international business at the expense of slave labor, with this legacy still visible in the low wages paid to the industry's workers.

Cole reports that, "according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO), the U.S. is the world’s leading importer of coffee... with over 415 million cups of coffee drunk everyday. Brazil is the largest exporter, accounting for nearly a quarter of all exports. The second largest exporter is Vietnam, constituting 19.4%, followed by Colombia (9%) and Indonesia (8.7%). Peru, Honduras, India, and Guatemala each account for about 4%. Nicaragua and Costa Rica each contribute 1.5%".

Coffee's worldwide significance is evidenced by the fact that 75 million people depend on it to make a living, including pickers, farmers, roasters, exporters, wholesalers and shops as well as all the related intermediaries and services.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Architecture, lake atitlan

Waste bottles for construction? Yes, it is difficult to think of a bottle as a brick. But a mud-filled bottle is as strong as a brick and whatever you can do with a brick, you can do with a bottle too..Plus it has got lots of advantages too!

Here is an effective solution for reusing the plastic.

Bottles have the following advantages over bricks and other construction materials.

1. Low cost - You know how much a bottle costs!
2. Non-Brittle - (Unlike bricks)
3. Absorbs abrupt shock loads - Since they are not brittle,there can take up heavy loads without failure.
4. Bio climatic
5. Re-usable
6. Less construction material
7. Easy to build
8. Green Construction

Follow link below to learn more about:

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Click link above for more information.

Panajachel Colegio Internacional is a U.S. curriculum college preparatory school for grades 7-12, located in Panajachel, Guatemala. Our goal is to offer the best possible international education available for students of all cultural backgrounds. We believe that student attitude is the most important element in achieving that goal. Knowledge is not simply poured into student’s ears; it is gained through the diligent efforts carried out by the students, teachers and parents working together hour by hour, day by day, and year by year. Therefore, our principal requirement for all students interested in attending PCI is that they and their parents understand the commitment they are undertaking and agree to devote the time and work necessary to be successful. We believe that attitude is far more important than aptitude, and that the rewards earned through hard work are as satisfying as any other joys life has to offer.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
View of Lake Atitlan and volcano from my apartment balcony in Panajachel. Taken by Catherine Todd June 2008.