Monday, February 11, 2013

New Bathroom at Casa de Las Flores

Newly remodeled bathroom,
with roof and glass blocks for light.
This was a happy week for me. Last summer, my friends and I put on a Mexican Mole dinner for about 30 people in Los Alamos, NM, to raise money for Casa de Las Flores, a day school for the street children of San Cristobal. We raised a bit over $700 and sent that money to the school. There were two collapsed bathrooms in the back yard. Our donation was used to remodel one of them into a new usable bathroom. Previously, the school only had two functioning toilets and one shower inside the building.

Nancy Orr of the Amigos organization, a big sponsor of the school, volunteered to manage the remodel project. She did an excellent job.

It would have been prohibitive to tear out the wall between the two bathrooms, so Nancy opted to remodel only one side, put in a new cement floor, drain, toilet and roof. She hired an albanil to do the work. He installed a sink on the outside of the bathroom. The new shower took up all the space the sink would have needed. Actually it's a good idea for the sink to be on the outside, then anyone can wash their hands without waiting for someone to leave the bathroom. Plants were planted directly under it, forcing users to stand on either side but allowing two kids to wash at the same time.

It's a typical Mexican bathroom. The shower head comes out of the wall directly above the drain on the floor and the toilet sits against the opposite wall. There is no shower curtain or other barrier. Amazingly, because of the low water flow, the whole room doesn't get soaked,  or even splashed very much.

Then, in order to use the new bathroom, the garden in front of the door was planted in flowers and bushes, with a path covered in pine straw that makes a relatively dry walkway to the door.

The before picture!
To my astonishment, there was money left over. Some time this week, my friend Margarita, who volunteers at Casa del las Flores and I will meet with Claudia, the director, to determine what other capital improvement the school might need and see if the money might cover all or some of that.

Such a colorful choice of tiles!

The new shower