Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Getting into the groove of things...

We woke up Wednesday at 7:00 AM, feeling well-rested and ready for the day ahead. Last night, we decided to devote the day towards finding and assessing the upper spring. Following the pipe from the Center, we set out on what we hoped would be a fairly easy hike. However, we soon were unable to see the pipe from the road and had to venture up the mountain. After climbing around 100 feet of incredibly steep mountainside with the ground crumbling underneath our feet, we were able to reach a patch of green, providing a wonderful switch from dry, dusty rock, to incredibly slick mud and grass. We discovered the patch of green was fueled by a small pool of water, which served as a catchment for runoff from the spring above. Determined the get to the spring, we took a breather and continued our trek.

Fortunately, the latter part of our hike was more gentle, and we reached the spring without much difficulty, and we spent the rest of the morning performing tests on the water and assessing the area.

After a light snack, we headed back to CECTFIA. The hike down was much more treacherous, with the ground proving to be yet again a dangerous foe, this time with gravity as an ally. However, we were ultimately the victor, and safely arrived back on the road and walked back to CECTFIA for a late lunch and an afternoon of testing water at the center.

After testing the water, we headed down to Asanquiri with Mario, a community leader who has very close ties to CECTFIA. Not entirely sure what to expect, we gathered in the Asanquiri school while Mario called a town meeting with several resounding blasts of an ox horn. As the men and women of the community slowly trickled in, we started the meeting. Explaining who we are and why we were there, we originally called the meeting to start building some stronger bonds with the people of Asanquiri. After our explanation, we sang a few songs and asked if the people had any questions. Most of the questions came from Mario and the school’s head teacher. Soon however, we realized we were boring the people, and concluded our meeting.

During the walk back with Mario, we were able to have a surprisingly sincere conversation about local agriculture, and we could hear through Mario’s voice the pride he felt for the local crops, grown using minimal chemicals and the skills being taught by CECTFIA. As we neared his house, he asked us to teach him how to test for water quality parameters. Suppressing our excitement, we agreed to teach him on Saturday. We felt this was a major breakthrough for the long-term viability of the project, and were super excited as we withdrew to our dorms to discuss the day and get some well-earned sleep.

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