Given the twists and turns of the past ten days, we approached today (our last day) with a mix of anticipation and apprehension. What might go wrong? What surprises were in store for us? We didn’t have to wait long for our first surprise. Pulsiano knocked on Bryce’s door at 5am, informing him that we needed to depart immediately. The plan had been to meet the mayor at 9am to negotiate and sign a convenio (project agreement). Then, we’d spend the rest of the day in Pucutuni surveying a route for the water pipeline and conducting a health survey. Pulsiano had an unexpected appointment at 2pm, so we’d now visit Pucutuni first, followed by a late-morning visit with the mayor.
After a hasty breakfast, we hopped in Pulsiano’s truck and headed for Pucutuni. We arrived at 9am, with 1 km (3000 ft) of surveying to complete in the next two hours. Braden, Jim, and Brian started surveying while Bryce and Pulsiano went looking for the president. The community was empty! Everyone was out tending their flocks of alpaca. After an hour and a half of searching, we managed to rouse the vice president and his wife. We conducted a brief health survey while Braden and Jim completed their surveying work. Then, at 12:25pm, we dashed back down the mountain in hopes of catching the mayor.
We arrived at the municipality just past 1pm. As Palsiano greeted the security guard, a truck flew past. There went the mayor! Pulsiano ran down the street waving his arms, but to no avail. The mayor was gone for the weekend and, with him, our last chance to negotiate and sign a convenio (project agreement).
Undeterred, Palsiano walked the halls of the muni, searching for our engineering contact. Ten minutes later, we were ushered into a room with the engineer and the budget manager. We explained that we would like to sign a convenio. They stated that they normally signed an agreement after the budget was complete. (We obviously weren’t prepared to share a detailed budget since we had just completed surveying moments before and hadn’t begun our design work yet.) What’s more, the mayor wouldn’t be available to sign anything until the end of September. Nonetheless, they agreed to review our proposed convenio. After a few clarifications, they happily agreed to sign our convenio. Once we had completed our design work and developed a budget, we’d return to sign a budget agreement. A quick phone call to the mayor confirmed that he could sign the convenio tomorrow morning. The convenio would then be sent to us (in Cusco) by currier. We now had everything in place to begin our design work.
Tomorrow (Saturday) Jim flies home, while the rest of the group recuperates in Cusco. We’ll all be home by Monday evening, with a week and a half to recover before school begins. It’s been one crazy trip with lots of twists and turns. It ends well, though, as we’ve secured a new project and collected the data needed for design. Peru is an amazing place with amazing people. I can’t wait to introduce the rest of our team to Peru and to our project partners.
Final picture in honor of Curt: