Will Kirby of Elkhorn, Neb., a senior in architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri S&T, reports the progress of the 18-member Engineers Without Borders team. The students are working to implement an additional water storage tank, rainwater collection systems, and slow-sand-drip water filtration systems for a community of 7,000 in Honduras.
Today was day four in Santiago, Honduras, day three of work. Excellent progress has been made over the last couple days. Today wrapped up all of the preparation for the tank before the cement process begins tomorrow. It looks like it will be an early start and tiring day for all of us. And after a long day of cementing tomorrow, our boys will be playing in a soccer tournament with the local Pimienta community teams. More updates on the turnout of that subject to follow.
As for our other groups, the water filtration team met yesterday with the families who received water filters. The families also received small water storage tubs to put their filtered water in. Today, the team went to the homes and helped set up the filters and answer any further questions. We have seen a lot of excitement over the filters and hope to be able to get many more to the community soon. The team also went to the Kindergarten and high school yesterday to talk to the children about the filters. The young kids were more interested in the “gringos” than they were with the filters, but nonetheless, it was a great visit. And one of the girls at the high school requested a filter be donated to their school. So it was nice to see interest in what we are doing.
The assessment team has been busy getting as many GPS locations as possible around the town. They met with the local plumber to locate the existing water lines and figure out how to tie into the tank we are building during our visit. During a meeting today, a decision was made for a new well location for the town. It will be pumped into the large existing tank and will be drilled after our team leaves. A backhoe was brought in today to dig the trenches from our tank to the existing line. And even though some of the team members are sure they could have dug that much just as fast, we were very grateful to have had the equipment instead.
The rainwater collection team began their project yesterday on the house that was chosen. After many attempts and several embarrassing hints from the non-engineering town’s people, the young engineers were able to make progress with their project. Today, two large tanks were bought to store the water for the collection systems. The team is currently meeting this evening with the adults who will be affected by their project, because it is hard to make decisions during the day when they are all away to work.
We have an exciting next couple of days planned for the team. Tomorrow night, after a long day of work, will be the futbolito (soccer for all the gringos) tournament with the community. The following night is a going away party for our team and a team of dentists that have also been working in Santiago. Friday night is a fair in Pimienta in celebration of the town’s patron saint.
We’ll be sending updates in between our fiestas! Hasta luego!