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  • Writer's pictureRotary Club of Palm Beach

Global Grant 2016131: Pollution Free Transportation for Ak'Tenamit, Guatemala

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

NEEDED: Four 20 Horse Power equivalent Torqueedo electric outboard motors to be used to power two existing large 30 passenger launches and one new 60 passenger catamaran ferry that will serve as "school buses" to transfer students at Ak'Tenamit between classrooms, residential buildings and dining facilities located on two campuses separated by the River Dulce. Ak'Tenamit, a Rotary sponsored Guatemalan school acquired one Torqeedo electric motor in late 2018 through District Grants involving seven clubs in the states and encompassing two Districts. That single engine has been in constant active and successful use since its inception in 2018. The current other motors in use at the school are aging and losing efficiency with each passing day. A newer, electric motor, will save over $6,000 USD per year in fuel expenses as well as repair and maintenance services. In contrast to combustion engines, Torqeedo drives do not discharge any fuel or exhaust into the water, promoting further efforts to keep the area pollution free, but sustainable. The Torqueedo electric motors are sealed and require minimal maintenance with their lithium batteries guaranteed to maintain their charging capacity over time, being charged using pre-existing solar panels on site of the school. The Torqeedo electric motor is emission free, close to silent, and safer for the students than a traditional gasoline motor. Projected life expectancy of a properly operated and maintained Torqueedo electric motor is upwards of 15 years, far surpassing the life of a traditional gas powered martine engine. Ak'Tenamit only employs experienced boatmen capable of operating their well loved and essential boats as they are integral to river life on the Rio Dulce.

The 60-passenger catamaran ferry will be Guatemalan built with fiberglass hulls by experienced boat builders at marinas in the nearby Rio Dulce and Livingston areas as boats are necessary along the river here. Each boat will be registered and inspected for safety by the Guatemalan Coast Guard prior to being available for passenger use.

So how can your club get involved? Easy! We need pledges to solidify this prject. Donating to a Global Grant gives your club the highest value of your donation as they are matched by District Discretionary Funds (DDF) and the Rotary World Fund. The total project budget is $99,000, which will only require $23,500 in Rotary Club cash donations. As of July 18, $7,500 has been pledged, and we are still in need of $16,000.00 in pledges. Pledges are only then payable when the Global Grant application is approved by the Rotary Foundation, typically 9-12 months after the initial pledge. We can do this. As always, many hands make light work. Contact District Area Governor Riccardo Boehm, for further info!

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