Former EWB member now working with Engineering in Action in La Paz


Editor’s note: Will Kirby, former leader of Engineers Without Borders, is in La Paz, Bolivia, working for Engineers in Action, an American nonprofit created through the partnership of Engineers Without Borders and the Methodist Church of Bolivia. He plans to stay with the group until late May. Here’s his first dispatch:
Engineers in Action is comprised of some low paid engineers and staff, plus a handful of volunteers. I’ll mostly be helping with some of Rolla’s EWB projects in Bolivia, primarily in the office but will most likely be making a few trips out in the field somewhere. I’ll also be helping out with some other EIA projects. The hours are great. We get there anywhere 8:30 and 9 a.m. We typically head home for lunch just after 12 p.m., which all in all takes almost two hours. Then quitting time is about 5:30 p.m. I could get used to it, I think.

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S&T EWB team prepares to head home from Honduras

Patricia Hallier of Oak Grove, Mo., a sophomore in chemical engineering, gives the EWB team’s update on their experience in Honduras.

IHondo Dos 061.jpgt’s Saturday and we’ve just completed the last of our projects in Santiago. On Wednesday we added ferrocement to the entire 5,000 gal tank and laid most of the piping. It was a long day, but after that most of the work was accomplished. The next few days we spent finishing piping and sealing the tank and completing our rainwater collection systems.
The rainwater collection team was able to set up systems at two different locations as examples for the locals. We will continue to work with them after we leave by funding 10 houses at a time until all 36 families have a system set up. What we set in motion will improve the living conditions for this community dramatically because currently they have no way of obtaining clean water.
The rainwater project will provide the people of Santiago with more water, but still not of a high quality. Two more rotary biosand filters were purchased and placed in the church and the home where the rainwater collection systems were installed. A few of the filters installed earlier in the week had a few problems, so they were replaced with working filters for the families to use. Dr. Raul, the area’s mayor as well as medical doctor will continue to check on the success of the filters, and that they are being properly maintained and used. If all goes well, we plan on providing the community with more filters, and will send the educational materials that we have made to the community leaders, to better help them instruct the community of their use.
Hondo Dos 129.jpgThis afternoon we had a meeting with community leaders to discuss the results our trip, the findings of our assessment team, and future plans. They expressed appreciation for what we’ve been able to do and that we completed it in the time here. It was sad to say goodbye to the friends we made and take the last drive back to Pimienta over the mountain. Tomorrow we´ll see San Pedro Sula and get ready to leave. We’re definitely looking forward to coming back to Santiago next year.

Missouri S&T EWB team in Honduras prepares for cementing, soccer

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.
Hondo 019.jpgAs 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.

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18-member EWB team from Missouri S&T makes it to Honduras

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.
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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.

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And the race is on

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It’s a real low rider

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Sink and swim

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EWB trip: sampling the water

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EWB trip: more discussions about water needs

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EWB trip: water discussions

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