Water Tanks and Colonial Style Social Networks

Free Water at the Public Washbasins

Today, as in colonial times, these public water tanks and washbasins serve as the places for doing the laundry and for water distribution. Furthermore, public laundry washbasins (sometimes river or lake shores) serve as the gathering place for news, gossip and community building through the interactions that take place. Public washbasins could be considered the first news broadcasting sites or social networks such as Facebook or Twitter; computers are not required. In many places in Guatemala this stills holds true.

As I took these pictures, I took the time to talk to several of the women doing the laundry and I asked what were some of the reasons for utilizing the public washbasins even though most of them have running water at home. These are some of the answers:

  • Los lavaderos públicos, public washbasins are more comfortable because they are larger and the water is closer.
  • At the lavaderos públicos, public washbasins I get to see and talk to my friends and neighbors.
  • Los lavaderos públicos, public washbasins have plentiful of free water.
  • At the lavaderos públicos, public washbasins I get to see things and people, sort of free entertainment.
  • Los lavaderos públicos, public washbasins provide less distractions than being at home doing the laundry.
  • At the lavaderos públicos, public washbasins the temperatures are cooler and thus more comfortable.
  • Los lavaderos públicos, public washbasins are my only choice since I do not have running water at home.

This morning Kwallek asked the following questions:

Things that matter with water wells: what are they casing off the bore with, is it cased all the way to the water table, is it potable the way it comes out of the ground, what is the recovery rate, how deep is the water and depth or thickness of the water table.

And tonight we already have the answers, thanks to Ted from Wells of Hope.

Steel well casing is used. Because of the earthquakes that are possible in Guatemala, the well should be completely cased to the aquifer, which will prevent the well from collapsing if there were tremors in the area. We have found that the water in the mountains of Jalapa is very potable directly from the well. A 24 hour pump test is done after drilling a well. This helps us to determine how much water we can safely remove from the aquifer without extensively drawing down the water table or drying the aquifer. Every well is different when it comes to recovery rate. It is very difficult to determine the dimensions of the water table. It is only through the use of very expensive measuring equipment and extensive study that one can propose a dimension of a water table. Our volunteer program does not have the necessary finances in order to do this.

What do think of public washbasins and water tanks?

Abundant free water at the public washbasins Colonial-style Social Networks

© 2009 – 2017, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Eric

    Great post, Rudy, and unbelievable colors. I love the answers the ladies gave for using los lavaderos publicos. Once out at el Lago, I saw the usual twenty-or-so ladies scrubbing away on the rocks at the edge of the lake, and a gentleman taking a bath not far away. I think he wanted the ladies to notice, because he was taking a very long time to lather-up with soap, standing up straight and striking a pose the whole time. Of course, he still wore his hat and los calzoncillos. The ladies were laughing very much – the more he posed, the more they laughed ! So I understand about the ‘entertainment’ that happens at los lavaderos publicos. No se necesita un televisor ! Ja-ja-ja

    • Funny story Eric! And I agree about the colors!

  • Erick

    I hope that these public water tanks never go away. They are such a huge part of the Guatemalan culture (at least in my mind, from when I was a kid), that it would be sad to see them disappear. Besides, based on some of the feedback provided by the ladies washing there, it still a necessity for some of them to be able to have access to these tanks.

  • I especially love today’s public washbasin pictures. It reminds me of a post I wrote a while ago about a woman in Chiquimula who received a washing machine from her kids who work en el norte. I don’t know if Doña Tina had the option of a communal washbasin in her pueblito, but she used a similar, much smaller, basin behind her house before she got her machine.

  • Guy

    Hi Rudy,
    Private on the large scale as opposed to ‘public’, this is the pila at the Finca Carmona:


  • Armando Garcia

    Estimado Rudy:

    Que fotos más bonitas e interesantes, me asombran los comentarios de mis queridas paisanas de Sn. Pedro Las Huertas, realmente nunca pense que les pareciera tan divertido poder realizar esta importante labor. Gracias por estas fotos que quedaran plasmadas para la historia y le agradezco en nombre de muchos de los habitantes de esta aldea esa labor que realiza por resaltar esos lugares tan lindos que tenemos.
    Armando García
    4a. Avenida # 28 Canton 1
    San Pedro Las Huertas

  • Oh God how many times have I had to hand wash my clothes.. This is wayyy better 😀

    And true los “chismes” where first than facebook 😛

  • kwallek

    Love the water articles, a simple thing like getting water into the house can get interesting fast in a place that shakes.

  • Óskar

    Venerado Rudy,
    leí tus comentarios acerca de “Lo bueno, lo malo y lo feo de estudiar español en Antigua”, -espero que tu castellano sea bueno como para comprender mi subjuntivo y demás en este contexto-. Hace algunos años trabajé como profesor en un escuela de Antigua Guatemala y déjame contarte que fue una experiencia agradable, porque conocí a chicas muy guapas; unas eran muy estudiosas, otras no querían más que fumar, bailar salsa y tomar cerveza u otras drogas. Me di cuenta de que en su mayoría, todas las estudiantes eran muy “aventadas”, porque también muchas “güeras” vienen con la idea de “conseguirse” a un “latino hot”, es decir que no solo los chapines buscamos ser exportados, sino que también hay quienes buscan un “galán” o una “morenaza” con quien llenar sus vidas. Por otro lado, se te olvidó comentar los míseros sueldos que ganan los profesores de español en aquellas escuelas, ya que la paga no sobrepasa el dólar con 25 centavos por hora. Además día a día la delincuencia hace de la Ciudad de las Perpetuas Rosas, un lugar difícil de visitar. Te felicito por tu “web site”…
    Periodista, locutor
    y profesor de Lingüística

  • This is good stuff Rudy, pure and simple. I’m impressed!!

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