Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We are back in the states and we can proudly say that our implementation trip was a success! Sorry for the lack of posts the past week! After finishing our project at CETHA, Damian brought us to a school in Arampampa (also funded by Save the Children) where we interviewed professors and students on water supply/quality. We were surprised to learn that there was only one tap available for 160 students! These interviews allow us to assess situations in neighboring communities for future projects/collaboration. Towards our last days at CETHA, Damian and Professor Zolio discussed how they were able to take from our project and know how to apply it. Hearing this from them was amazing! Not only will the project be sustainable, but also grow for the better good of the communities. Water supply is a huge need for these communities! Not just for consumption, but also for hygiene purposes. We will continue to communicate with both CETHA and the school in Arampampa when fall semester begins. Side note: past posts were also updated with pictures.

Water from an open catchment that the community drinks from when water is low
School in Arampampa
Us and Damian
After eating two lunches (one with Damian and another with CETHA), we headed back to Cochabamba. Gabe was so kind to drive us there and to La Paz rather than us having to ride a bus. But before we left, the students and professors prepared a goodbye and thank you speech for us. It was a very sweet moment. We couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity! We gained just as much from this experience as they did, and we are so thankful for it! 

Gabe and Christina also giving a thank you speech
Our tank!
Mosaic of our project

Highlights of our post-project free week in Bolivia: 

Ate ice-cream at Dumbo's! To sum that place up, it's like a miniature Chuck E Cheese, minus arcade games.

Visited Cristo de la Concordia (Jesus Christ statue). It's the largest statue of Jesus in the world!

La Paz
Bought items for our upcoming benefit dinner (they're some awesome items, so be pumped!)
Gabe brought us to a delicious French restaurant. It was one of those places you dress up for, but we went in our traveling clothes. :)
Took a tour to Tiwanaku (Pre-Incan Civilization Ruins)

Wes and Kia left back to the states two days early :(. It was odd saying that we only had 5 people whenever we would get a taxi or go out to eat. 
Explored parks and plazas around the city
Hello La Paz!
Art in the plaza
Mt. Illimani
Loved feeling like a kid again!
BEST slide ever!
 Watched a World Cup qualifying match (Bolivia vs Venezuela)
Score was 1-1
Gabe invited us over to his house to eat dinner and play pool. Afterwards, we sang some kareoke! Perfect way to end the trip.

Thank you again for following us on our EWB NCSU adventure to Bolivia! This experience was truly unforgettable and we are so grateful to everyone who has contributed to this project. A huge thank you to Ben Lord for leading our team!! You were a wonderful project lead and we will miss you a lot, Ben! 

Damian, his sons, and Ben
We will give more updates when fall semester starts again. Until then, have a wonderful summer!

Monday, June 3, 2013

It’s our last day in CETHA and our project is officially completed! This weekend has been super busy! It’s been filled with lots of painting, interviews, and everything else that comes with constructing a rainwater harvesting system with a huge concrete tank!
Us, professors, and most of the students at CETHA wolfpack style in front of our first flush diverters

Gabe and Christina showing/explaining the rainwater harvesting system
Hurray! Wes wants to note that he jumped high, but the camera shutter was too late. :P
Us again, normal and all
Rewind to Friday, the students left early that day to go home for the weekend, so the professors here were able to help us all weekend. Aside from implementing our rainwater harvest design, we’re also assessing for future projects. Some of our assessment work includes surveying, soil testing, and lots of interviews. We were able to interview the school’s nurse as well as Damian and Zolio (our contact and professor here at CETHA). These interviews really helped us get an insight in what they needed: water supply and knowledge in water technology. Meals here are generally starch, starch, and more starch. But they’re delicious and filling! But because they’re mainly starchy food, we’ve been missing snacks like peanut butter and cookies! Some of the snacks Gabe and Axel brought back from their last Cochabamba trip were Oreos and peanut butter, which we ate Friday night! They were amazing.
Oreo & Peanut Butter night!
After our night snack, we all hiked up a little mountain right beside the school and star gazed on mini stone benches. Star viewing here is unreal! The Milky Way is literally splashed across the night sky with stars twinkling like fireflies. Some of us even saw our very first shooting star!! Right next to the school is a big farmland with cattle, goats, and donkeys roaming around. Sometimes, they cross through our work site and we have to scurry to get all of our materials out of their way. There’s this one bull though that’s been chilling at the top of the schools main pathway for the past three days and we almost bumped into it on our way to our star gazing site! We weren’t able to see it until Ben flashed his flash light towards the bull’s direction and BOOM, two bright eyes with white horns were looking our way. We ended our Friday watching a couple of episodes of Workaholics before calling it a night. It was a nice and relaxing way to finish off our labor intensive day.

Saturday was just as busy, if not busier. Aside from finishing up major parts of our design, we started focusing on all of the details…which seemed to all add up into one big project of itself! The best part about having a hard work day is sleeping even harder during the night. Sunday was our big day because it was our last!
We used Sika Top Seal to seal the interior of the tank
Applying Sika Top Seal
Final cleaning of the tank
Re-sizing the ends of PVC pipes using a heat method
This morning was the best breakfast yet, hot chocolate and fried bread that was almost like a flattened fried doughnut/funnel cake. It was scrumptious.
We made our final list of small tasks to get done for the day and installed the last portion of the pipeline. Side note: we were interrupted momentarily by a herd of cows through the work site, but we fended them off successfully.
There will be a few tasks for the professors and the students of the school to complete, but we have prepared a checklist of scheduled maintenance for them to perform throughout the year. This ensures that the project will remain effective for years to come. After finishing work, we loaded up a car with our team, the professors at the school, and some of the students to go play sports at a nearby school. We played an intense game of soccer followed by two close volleyball matches. The teachers from the schools played our group in both sports. We showed a lot of improvement and everyone got involved in volleyball. We played until way past our normal dinnertime, but it was a great way to spend our last night. We piled back in the car and rushed back for dinner, but it wasn’t even cooked yet. The students cooked tonight, a delicious rice soup with lots of potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes. After eating until we were stuffed, we came back to the dorm to play cards, relax, and pack up for our trip back to Cochabamba.

We made it back to La Paz after staying a day in Cochabamba. More pictures and updates to come after a good nights rest! Thank you all for following our project!! We are beyond happy that it's implemented. A special thank you to everyone who helped us on this project!