As one group of members from the Engineers Without Borders student chapter at Missouri University of Science and Technology returned from Bolivia, another team from that chapter landed in Honduras. Eric Bayless of Sparta, Ill., a junior in computer engineering, shares some of the team’s experiences so far.
We arrived in Honduras yesterday afternoon, exchanged our dollars into limpiras, and then met with our Washington Overseas Mission contact, Janice, for lunch. After lunch we took a bus to Pimienta, where we are staying in the nicest house in town. It’s not exactly what we were expecting — it’s much nicer — and we have been fed delicious food. We also took a short trip to Santiago for an initial meeting with the community members. We traveled to see the foundation that had been poured for the tank and took a look at the filters we are installing in some of the poorer homes.
Our first day of work began with being hauled on the back of trucks from Pimienta to Santiago.
Initially groups met to discuss their plans for the day, which involved a lot of assessment of the town for future projects. A lot of progress was made on the tank, the rebar frame is nearly complete, and tomorrow we will wire the chicken wire to either side.
The rainwater collection team had an impromptu meeting with the poorest part of Santiago located on the outskirts near the trash dump. A house was chosen to be the first attempt at our in-country rainwater collection system. The team did see one of the houses which had already designed their own collection system. Jason Co mentioned how he was really impressed that this man had developed a system that would provide enough water for his family of seven. The man said that water would be used for everything they need.
The water filtration team distributed 21 Bio-Sand Filters to homes in the community around the Health Center. We put them in a central location so that the community leaders can easily assess their effectiveness (whether the community is using them properly and if cases of sickness decrease because of their use). We are planning a community meeting tomorrow to discuss the maintenance and use of the filters.
The assessment team walked around the streets using GPS to locate the pipes for the distribution system. Tomorrow they plan to meet with the plumber who installed most of the pipes. This was a good chance for the team to meet many members of the town.
We plan to get an early start tomorrow morning to beat the heat of the day and try and get the tank prepped for the cement work. We managed to keep well hydrated and lather on the sunscreen and bug spray all day today. We only had one soldier fall ill. We will check in within the next few days, hopefully to add pictures and report on more successful days just like today.