Water purification projects a focus for IXIM

As part of several years’ effort to help the people of the Huehuetanango diocese in Guatemala obtain clean water, IXIM: Spirit of Solidarity is raising money to buy 1,200 in-home filtration systems, said Mark Zimmer, director.
“Water contamination is the biggest health problem these people face, since 85 to 90 percent of their water is contaminated,” he said. “If that’s the only water you have to drink, you’re chronically ill, and it contributes to malnutrition.”
An economical solution is a two-bucket filtration system, Zimmer said.
Following a successful pilot project, the diocese’s central deanery decided to expand the project into four parishes in the highlands and make the filter systems available for 300 homes in each of the parishes, Zimmer said. 
Costing $20 per system, they will be sold to people in Guatemala for $32, with the profit funneled back into the project to help make it a self-sustaining effort. If successful, the project could spread to all 30 parishes, he said.
Earlier water projects undertaken by IXIM involved building water purification plants in four parishes in 2006 and 2007. Two years ago, discussions began for installing a plant in San Miguel, the site of this year’s mission trip, Zimmer said.
“We made an agreement with the people there that if they would raise the money to build a building to house the plant and prepare the piece of property, we would raise the money to pay for the plant,” he said.
The plant was installed last year, he said, “and this year, we’re looking forward to going back to see it up and running.”
For this year’s filter system project, fundraising includes coffee from Huehuetenango sold through Pear’s Gourmet. The company’s co-owner, John Larsen, has made three IXIM mission trips and donates the net proceeds from those sales to IXIM, Zimmer said.
The coffee can be purchased at the Fresh Roast Store at 901 Fort Crook Rd. N. in Bellevue, Pear’s outlet store.
People also can donate through “Omaha Gives” at, now through May 23, or by check to IXIM, 1248 S. 10th St., Omaha, NE 68108.
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