Call for Volunteer - 1 week in Guatemala

Call for Volunteer

Qualifications: Residential construction inspectors or engineers with related experience.

Experience: Structural assessment of damaged buildings (cinder block and adobe) including field investigation of geology, hydrology, soils, building construction, and impacts of nearby mining activities. Interpretation of field results and report preparation of findings. Communication of results to various stakeholders including local community and mining company. Spanish skill and professional engineer registration a plus; however, not essential.

Situation: In the municipalities of Sipacapa and San Miguel Ixtahuacán, San Marcos Department, Guatemala, more than 100 houses, shops, and churches have cracked walls and foundations, and some buildings have partially collapsed. The issue concerns a new gold mine, Marlin, owned by Goldcorp Inc. Local residents believe that mining is causing the structural damage by ground vibrations from rock blasting and increased road traffic through their villages. Two volunteer engineers, Steve Laudeman from Engineers Without Borders and Rob Robinson from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), completed a pre-assessment trip in May of this year. The trip report and a project proposal are available. The team requires additional support in evaluating the structural damage and preparing a report on the causes. Volunteers are expected to pay for their travel expenses.

Previously the local communities have received two grants from the UUSC, one to monitor water quality downstream from mining impacts, and a second to inventory water sources and flow (some wells and springs are drying up). UUSC is working with local partners including the municipalities, and the Commission for Pastoral Peace and the Environment, an NGO sponsored by the Catholic Church.

If interested contact:
Rob Robinson