While I intended to post sooner than today, this last week proved to be a lot busier than expected. It started off with us meeting with the municipality again. Now, like in our government in the states, the municipality leaders are voted in. Several, including the chief engineer, have gained office since we started the project, with little to no briefing on what we were doing until we got here. Not only has this delayed our plans, but complicated them as well. Our agreement with the municipality was to cover some of the expenses of the project, predominantly transportation of the materials. However, since he was unware of our project, those costs were not implemented in the budget. Part of our challenge has been negotiating with them in order to come to an agreement so that our project is a success.
Alongside those challenges has been working with the community in order to get the trenchline dug before the rest of the team gets here. At just around 800 meters long, it is not a small task, but with some organizaiton and planning, perfectly doable. Thankfully, the municipality has been helping organize the community to dig by providing a foreman and a couple skilled laborers for the project. Regardless, digging did not start until this last Friday because of finalizing the trenchline markings.
That has been the other challenge, finalizing the trenchline markings. This challenge predominantly comes down to working in a location so far removed from where we all did our design work, back in Walla Walla. Regardless, with a little time and helpful feedback from the rest of the team, we finalized it all and marked it down so that the community can dig it all over the next couple of weeks.
With these challenges, we spent every day this week out either talking with the municipality or up at the community, culminating in three climbs up to the community. Needless to say, climbing at an altitude of 4000-4500 meters over a distance of approximately 4 km is pretty exhausting if you’re not used to it. Thankfully this weekend marks Peru’s Independence Day, which means most of the locals won’t be working, allowing us to catch our breath a bit.
On a fun note, one day after our work in the community, Pulsiano showed us an old Spanish mine near the community. It was not too large, and definitly old. Pulsiano told us it was likely from when the Spanish ruled the country and was used to mine turquiouse and gold. He also told us that the community likely developed in support of the mine, however when the Spanish were forced out, it became a farming and ranching community.
As for the mine, the passageways were small, usually about 1.5-2 meters tall and 1.5 meters wide. We didn’t explore too deeply because we saw a few areas that looked weak and we didn’t want to risk getting trapped in a cave-in. However, we did get to see a small turquoise vein!
To sum it all up, it was sure a busy week, and I’m thankful for a small break before hitting the ground running again this week.
Until next time!