To empower economic development through the fundamentals of Water and Sanitation- pure drinking water and sanitary hygiene -in homes, schools, communities.
We envision people in remote locations educated, empowered, and inspired to be their own agents for change.
"The products are simple, scaleable, and sustainable; tippy tap home hand-wash stations; Tippy Taps large scale hand-wash stations for schools and public places, and water filtration for home, community and school.
The service is continuing education for behavioral change.
Visitors are impressed by holistic change in communities where Los Buenos Vecinos does its work. Following a program of teaching the teachers, training the trainers, tracking outcomes, and providing continuing education curriculum for the local WASH CHAMPIONS, change is observable and measurable.
- Dave Renfrow, Co-founder, Director of support Organization Buenos Vecinos (USA)
Only 17 miles for World Heritiage Site, Antigua, but a world apart is San Andres Itzapa, Chimeltenango, Guteamala. Here workhorses outnumber pickup trucks. Employment for the predominantly Kaqchikel Mayan people is primarily farm work, campesinos, in fields owned by others. Average income in the region is $4.50 per family per day. Contaminated water results in diarrhea which causes malnutrition, and the highest rate of physical and cognitive stunting in the world. Low school attendance is directly related to impure water.
Over 80% of the people who migrate come from areas lacking in adequate Water and Sanitation infrastructure and education.
Isai Lopez- Production Workshop Manager
Isai, “Chino”, is a veteran of the workshop and now workshop manager. In addition to metals, welding, painting, assembling, over the past two years, he enjoys opportunities to assist with teaching WASH in the communities.“I feel satisfied in support of The Good Neighbors Organization because I love to support communities. I see myself growing in knowledge to help the people, through the organization.”
Virginia Alverez Martinez- Educational Workshop Facilitator
Virginia is highly organized, steadfastly pleasant professional. Her primary work is Educational Workshop Facilitator for WASH Education. Virginia has been involved with and led workshops at over 100 schools, 12 communities. She looks forward to completing her full WASH certification in 2023.
“I see noticeable changes in habits in the communities after each program we teach” she states. Her vision is no less than to perfect the Los Buenos Vecinos model to make it exportable to “empower communities worldwide”.
Elmer Arriaga- Co-founder and director Los Buenos Vecinos Guatemala
Elmer is the powerful heartbeat of Organization Los Buenos Vecinos.
His 22 years in the construction trades brought him journeyman level skills in every facet of building construction from concrete to electrical and carpentry, plumbing.
But above all, Elmer is a highly inspirational visionary.
“This work [helping my people] is what I want to do with my life.”
Pamela Arriaga Sequinajay
Kindness with intelligence is Pamela's uplifting way. She and her teammates have led scores of WASH Education workshops and Pamela recently earned her third certification in WASH, that of menstrual hygiene.
Advanced degrees in Water and Sanitation and Community Health are Pamela’s professional goal.
Eduardo, Edy, Arriaga
Edy holds an undergraduate certificate in law, and bachelor’s degree in medicine. He charms computers and people with equal ease.
Co-Founder of Los Buenos Vecinos; director of Los Buenos Vecinos USA. About 10 years ago on a long bike ride, Dave found Guatemala, and much of Latin America, and came back to Guatemala.
For many years Dave has returned and found hard-earned fulfillment in the work of Los Buenos Vecinos.
With a background in construction, passion for service, love of people and adventure, Guatemala is a perfect fit. “The needs here are enormous, but the solutions, given thought and study, can be simple".
"It is an honor to be a part of this outstanding group, The Good Neighbors".
Sam Avery is a microbiologist, healthcare worker, former sanitarian, and an entrepreneur. Since its inception Sam has influenced Los Buenos Vecinos in the education, business and technical aspects of Water & Sanitation Hygiene.
As the founder and owner of Dark Side Fermenters Kombucha in Whitefish, MT, Sam taught the women of the Jun Mokaaj Ixmucane, The Mother Weavers, both the brewing process and business fundamentals. Their sales are to tourists who visit from around the world to the ladies’ home town of San Pedro on Lake Atitlan.
Sam is an avid trail runner. Her mountain exploits were the inspiration for the Fire for Water Volcano Challenge. Her favorite run is the 7.5 km downhill cruise from San Andrés Itzapa to the Meléndez Brother's Coffee House in Parramos for a cappuccino (and then catching the chicken bus back).
She loves to travel, explore, learn languages, and empower people.
In 1991-1992, Denise LaFountaine began a life of service, first in the Mayan communities in and around Merida, Mexico. Soon, young Denise was invited to run a house for special needs Guatemalan refugee children in Campeche, Mx at the Quetzal Edzna Refugee camp in 1993-1994.
She has worked over twenty years in adult literacy at Renton Technical College and enjoys travel, biking, dancing, writing, reading and gathering with friends and family in her free time.
In 2020 Denise rode the Continental Divide trail from Canada to Mexico, as a fundraiser for school Tippy Taps. In March 2023 Denise returns to revisit old friends and new in Mexico and Guatemala and will once again be a valuable part of service at the first Fire For Water Challenge projects.
"In memory of a dear & gentle friend, and good neighbor" Julia was our meticulous book keeper, and dedicated WASH teacher, translator to Kaqchikel language, and highly respected citizen of San Andres Itzapa.
Julia died of covid in June of 2021
WHAT PROFESSIONALS IN THE FIELD ARE SAYING ABOUT OUR MODEL
"The project dots the i's and crosses the t's. Now to be sure this is not going to fix everything... these communities have big water quantity problems and long term we need to fix that. But, I'll tell you right now, the first order of business is get the water quality taken care of, you know, get the waterborne disease under control, and then we can worry about the other things later."
- Brian Neff, Ph.D Hydrologist