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A critical thread in the process was Rosemary Takacs, a former Peace Corps volunteer and member of the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach. She met Broussard through the student's work on a similar water project in the Honduras. Takacs connected the team to Agua Para la Salud, a nonprofit in Guatemala that builds water systems and other projects, and a similar U.S.-based nonprofit, Wisconsin Water for the World. She knew the area, guiding and translating for the team on their visits to the country, team members said. She also connected them to her Rotary Club, which, along with Rotary District 6970 and the Beaches Rotaract Club, helped raise a large portion of the $95,000 or so needed to complete the work. "As part of Rotary’s goals, providing clean water ranks right below preventing polio," Takacs said. "It is hard to measure the lives saved, but we can easily say all lives are improved by having readily accessible clean water." The community's water source was a high-elevation mountain spring, but its output had so declined over the past 20 years that it was no longer reliable. Residents either captured water in jugs from local taps, which during the dry season was only an hour per day, or hiked to a lower spring and carried water to the nearest road. "A villager waiting with a pickup truck would collect the containers and drive them up the winding mountain road. Women would meet him at the top of the path and retrieve their water, carrying it the final distance to their home," Takacs said. The limited water led to skin infections, dehydration and other illness. But designing a water distribution for the village was a challenge for student engineers more familiar with flat Florida than an area with mountains and high seismic activity. Also, with three languages involved — English, Spanish and Kaqchikuel Mayan — they had to overcome communication barriers.
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