Communities: Tesoro Chiquito
Location: Río Satán River, Uspantán
Population: 1,600 people
Expected Traffic: 200 people per day
Footbridge Type: Suspension
Span: 40m (131.2ft)
Partners: Flatiron Construction
Dedication: Harvey L. Howlett, Jr.
Sponsors: Rotary Club of Guatemala Sur, Rotary Club of Richmond, VA
Flatiron Construction; VSL International Ltd.
La Taña and Tesoro Chuiquito are two rural communities in the northern area of Uspantán. They lie right in the heart of the Zona Reyna, one of the most remote and underdeveloped regions of Guatemala. None of the communities in this region have electricity or running water (though that is slowly changing due to the efforts of the local government) and can only be reached by a three to seven hour journey from Uspantán on unpaved roads. La Taña is set in the deep, lush valley of the Río Satan and has a weekly market, a school and the region’s only health center. The people of the smaller community, Tesoro Chiquito, had to cross the broad Río Satan daily, carrying their products to market, their books to school or even sick relatives to the hospital. The trip was always risky but when waters were high it was downright dangerous. Locals tell a story of a boy who drowned years ago while trying to come home from school. The people of La Taña and Tesoro Chiquito benefited immensely from the construction of a new bridge, allowing them safely to access their fields, their market, their schools and health center.
The crossing was 40 meters, spanning the Rio Satan. During construction, it became increasingly evident that the improved access gained by the footbridge was going to be incredible, well over half the population of La Tana cross the river daily in order to reach the schools, medical clinic and of course, the soccer field. The Flatiron Construction team arrived with only two-weeks to erect the towers, string the cables and complete the structure; less than one week after arrival, the team stood side-by-side with the local villagers with whom they worked for the past 7 days and inaugurated the bridge.