This blog reflects my opinions and does not reflect the opinions of the US Government or the Peace Corps

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I was my sister for a day

Today I went over to Cathaleen’s new community to help her with a water system project. Her town is in the process of putting in tubing and a water tank so the community has water (right now only two houses have water!!!!). The town has been working diligently and Cathaleen decided to solicit the help of an NGO, Agua para la Salud, to come help as well. A civil engineer came all the way up to Cat’s village and is spending the week doing measurements and figuring out the hydraulics of the system. I understand the basic concepts of the whole projects but there is still a LOT more for me to learn about water systems.

We first traveled up to the first spring where we measured the flow rate. We then had to measure the distance of that spring to the point it will join a pipe from another spring. We had to do this piece by piece since PVC pipe can only go in a straight line. I was in charge of holding the tape measure as Cat walked as far and she could. The engineer figured out some other measurements using a compass and some other thingy. I honestly did not understand that part! Something to do with figuring out the change in altitude, I believe. To get to our destination we had to cross the stream/go in the stream, climb through bushes and try to do it all on our feet! Luckily no one fell in the river, except Lubu.

We did the same flow rate measurement for the other spring. We then measured our way back to the town. We had to break for lunch after about 3 hours of this. After lunch we finished up. It was very interesting to get to help today because I have read a lot about water systems and my sister is a Civil/Environmental Engineer but I never really understood until today when I was there helping. I only wish we got to wear the orange vests and hard-hats like surveyors in the US. Maybe I should introduce that to Guatemala!

On another note, I am doing various presentations in my community, as well as neighboring communities, to promote the “Bottle Puesto de Salud.” All the PCVs in my muni are collaborating to attempt to expand the current health post in the main town using “Eco-Blocks” made out of plastic bottles filled with plastic trash, like candy wrappers and plastic bags. I am really excited about this project and I hope it actually gets off the ground!

Getting the flow rate

Measuring distance for the water tubes (me with the yellow tape measure)

View from Cathaleen's community looking over to my community (30 min walk)

Cute little girl hollering into the empty water tank


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