Our day started at 6:30 am today. We woke up early because we had to meet the Foreman so we could discuss our project in Pucutuni and our Project in Pampa Chiri. The Foreman took us up to Pucutuni with Pulsiano. Pulsiano and the Foreman were discussing a lot on the walk up and we later found out that it was about finding more workers to dig the trench. When we reached the top, the Foreman spoke to the trench workers telling them to stay motivated and to ask more community members to join the trench crew. He reminded them that this project is for their benefit. The pep talk seemed to motivate them enough to keep working hard. The Foreman mentioned a couple design changes that he would like to see in the project, but since Jim arrived today and the rest of the crew is coming this weekend, these changes will be accounted for and discussed on Monday. After this trip we rode a bus back to Cusco to meet Jim! We are excited to have a Civil Engineer that is very experienced with water supply projects. Tomorrow we have more EWB team members joining us in Cusco. Our project is about to get more serious.
This morning after eating breakfast we went straight to the Municipality located in Pitumarca. There, we tried contacting the local Engineer and the Foreman to see how much has been accomplished on the trench. We were not able to find the Foreman but the locals told us that he went to Pucutuni to continue digging the trench. After we heard this, Pulsiano took us to the 14,000 ft community. There we found workers digging in the windy dry terrain. These Pucutuni locals told us that the trench from the spring to the tanks will be completed by Monday. It’s hard work digging solid soil at 14,000 ft with the sun in your face, but there is definitely progress. After driving back to the ADRA Center, we had an early dinner because early tomorrow we have to go back to Pucutuni. There we will talk with the Foreman about the trenches to the tapstands. We had extra time in the evening so Alexa and I took a couple of pictures of the night sky. The stars are gorgeous here. Here are a few pictures of the climb and one of the stars.
This morning Pulsiano took us to a city called Sicuani for some material scouting. We wanted to compare the prices that were given to us in Cusco and also to see where it would cost more to deliver from. It turned out that the material in Secuani was in a good enough price range to buy today. In total we saved about 860 soles buy purchasing the materials in Secuani instead of Cusco. We also realized that the delivery of the material would take 48 hours so we ordered the supplies so we could get started. We bought the materials that we needed to get started, which included the storage tanks and the pipe. After we bought the material Pulsiano took us around to show us the city. We talked to some of the locals and learned more about their history, politics, and agriculture. Tomorrow we are going back up to Pucutuni to see how much progress has been done on the trench. They told us it would be completed by Thursday so we are excited to see what has been accomplished. We hope to see significant progress so that we can be ready to start the construction when the rest of the team arrives.
Today many things were accomplished. In the morning Pulsiano took us to the City Municipality to check on there status and here what their plans were for helping us. We spoke to the city Engineer and the Foreman. They told us that they would have the Pucutuni trench done by Thursday and that they will be able to take the materials up to the community as well. We then left with Pulsiano on an hour and a half drive to the base of Pampa Chiri. We then hiked 2000 ft to the Sector of Pantiñeque in Pampa Chiri where our future project will take place. Alexa tested the soil, took water samples, and collected data for the flow rate. Dr. Nelson walked down and marked the route with the GPS while Chris and Pulsiano talked to the members of the community asking them health assessment questions. And I took pictures. We walked back down the 15,300 ft we reached and headed back to the ADRA Training Center. The views we saw today were amazing. God is good.
Today we left the lovely city of Cusco and arrived in Checacupe, were the ADRA training center is. Pulsiano was here to welcome us with great food and a nice place to stay. After we settled in we set out to the community of Pucutuni, were our project is taking place. Yuri drove as far as the roads would let him because the municipality has not yet completed the road to Pucutuni. We got out of the van and saw that we were at an altitude of 13,300 ft. Maria, our guide, kept asking if we felt okay because she was worried of us getting altitude sickness. We felt great so Pulsiano took Alexa, Chris, and I on a hike to Pucutuni. The hike took about an hour to arrive at a young families adobe house. There they’re were two women cooking and two girls with them. Pulsiano translated for us because they only spoke Quechua, an ancient Incan language. They told us that everyone in the community was down in the city for a wedding ceremony. Knowing this, we decided to stop going further and return to the van before it got dark. We made it back safely to the ADRA Training Center and discussed our plans for tomorrow. We are having a meeting tomorrow morning with the local Municipality to discuss the plans of our project. We are praying that it goes well and that we all can work as efficiently as possible. Ciao!
Hi everybody! Welcome to the September 2014 EWB Pucutuni/Pampa Chiri blog. We arrived in Lima on Friday and flew here to Cusco a few hours later. We were welcomed by Maria, Pulsiano, Nelson, and Yuri. Maria is basically the best tour guide in Peru and Yuri is our personal (stunt) driver while we are here in Cusco. The streets here are as narrow as the halls in our Walla Walla library. We are continuing our Pucutuni project that was started last fall and are beginning our project in Pampa Chiri. We have already checked with the prices on the tools and supplies that we are going to need. While acclimating and enjoying the Sabbath here in Cusco we had the opportunity to do some sight seeing. Tomorrow we head to the ADRA training center where we hope to meet Pulsiano, our close friend and project partner. We are also hoping to contact Pucutuni by the evening. Feliz Semana!
Wait! What happened to your project in Pucutuni? I thought that you were visiting Peru to finalize your design for a water system in Pucutuni.
You’re correct. We’re putting the finishing touches on the design and logistics for a water system in Pucutuni. We’re also looking ahead to our next project. By selecting our next project now, students can spend the 2014-2015 academic year designing the project. So, without further ado, our next project will be to design and build a water system in Pampa Chiri.
Pampa Chiri is a small Quechua community of 18 families (75-80 people) scattered along a seasonal creek. The community is located at 14,500 ft, and their planned water source is a spring at 14,900 ft. A short walk to the top of the valley (at 15,300 ft) provides a panoramic view of the Andes Mountains including the famous Ausengate. We first learned about this community on Monday afternoon when we asked the municipal engineer for recommendations for a next project. He answered without hesitation: Pampa Chiri. His recommendation was based on several factors. First, the community had an urgent need for a water system. Currently, they pull microbe-contaminated water from a seasonal stream. Second, the project was similar in scope and size to our existing project in Pucutuni. The engineer offered the guide services of a colleague, and we promised to meet in the morning for the trek to visit the community.
Warning: this paragraph is not for the faint of heart. Did I say trek?!? Tuesday morning was indeed a trek.
Step #1: A 15 minute ride from the ADRA center to Pitumarca to pick up the muni representative
Step #2: A 1 hour drive by SUV on a narrow winding road, ascending a deep canyou. (The views were spectacular.) Fortuitously, the president happened to be at the trail head when we arrived.
Step #3: A 1.25 hour hike to the picturesque community of Pampa Chiri, followed by a 45 minute hike to the proposed water source.
The community had all the right ingredients for a great project (except, perhaps, the long hike). First, it had a compelling need for clean, reliable water. Second, it had a year-round water source in the form of a spring at the top of the community. (In fact, two separate springs are available for use.) We channeled the water, then measured a flow rate of approximately 1 L/sec. Even after accounting for seasonal effects, we estimated that it would be sufficient to meet the needs of the community. Third, the community showed great initiative in trying to address their need. They had purchased pipe and dug a reservoir and trench. Unfortunately, they lacked the expertise to successfully complete the project. This gave us confidence that they were committed to the project. Fourth, we developed a good rapport with the community president who promised the support of the community in building and maintaining the water system.
Last night, Diego and I stayed up late to write a contract for the new project. This afternoon we joined the community president (who had walked all afternoon to meet us) at the municipality headquarters to sign our contract. The mayor has promised to sign the contract tomorrow morning, and we hope to collect Plinio’s signature (on behalf of ADRA) on Friday afternoon. Now for the part that you’ve all been awaiting: pictures!
Today was a big day. It began with a visit to the municipality (i.e., county government). We had the good fortune of meeting the mayor as he arrived at work. He graciously ushered us into his office where we spent the next 15 minutes explaining our project. He was quite cordial and seemed happy to support our project. We left a copy of our design plans with the engineer, who asked us to drop by later in the day for further discussion.
Following a promising visit with the municipality, we drove up the bumpy road toward Pucutuni (elevation 14,000 ft). When the road ended, we still had an hour of vigorous walking to reach the community. Due to a misunderstanding, we missed the community president. However, the new leader of the water committee met us and served as our host throughout the day. Our primary goal today was to reconnect with the community and to walk the route of our proposed water distribution system, explaining our design plans to community leaders. We started at the top, measuring the flow rate of the water source (a spring).
Much to our surprise, the community had already dug the 3000 foot long trench for the water system. In fact, they had already laid pipe along most of the route. This caused us consternation for two reasons: first, they hadn’t followed our surveying markers (though they weren’t too far off), and second, it looked like the project was already completed. They assured us that the current system was designed exclusively for irrigation and that they indeed still needed a potable water system. The muni had donated pipe and a water tank (before we adopted the project), but threatened to reclaim it if it wasn’t used. So, the community put it to work in an irrigation system. We paused for lunch and, when rain arrived, we ducked inside the home of a community member.
After lunch, we explored the remainder of our proposed water system with the water committee leader. A careful review of the landslide area left us wondering whether we really needed a suspension system to protect the pipe. (The irrigation system pipe was simply buried in the ground.)
We returned to the mayor’s office late in the afternoon to discuss our design plans. I expected a real grilling. Instead, our discussion focused primarily on the MOU (i.e., the contract that we signed in September) and on project timing (celebratory launch set for Sept. 2). Our negotiations went smoothly, and the engineer was quite happy with our design. In fact, he had only two requests: (1) use a plastic water storage tank (already planned), and (2) use PVC fittings for connections to the tank (usually supplied with the tank).
We wrapped up the evening with a long, rewarding conversation with Pulsiano – our host and director of the ADRA training center.
Willy, our project partner and the director of ADRA-Cusco, invited us to attend church. Diego really enjoyed it. The rest of us just listened for words we recognized. After church, we had the pleasure of meeting Willy’s family.
Afterward, we had the surprise of meeting three SMs on vacation from Ecuador. Two were friends from WWU. We spent the afternoon with them touring Cusco under the guidance of Maria, a church member and professional tour guide.
Yesterday morning started very early . . . . 4:30 am early. Now even for morning people (what I affectionately call those crazy people that enjoy getting up before 9:00 am . . . .or 10:00 am . . .) that is quite early! Surprisingly enough I woke up on my own. While I was pondering whether or not to actually look at the time and see if I really needed to get out of bed, I heard a soft tap on the door; though at the time I couldn’t tell if it was coming from the door or the wall. It was so quiet I convinced myself it wasn’t real. Once it repeated a few minutes later, I realized that someone was indeed knocking on my door in the hopes of waking me up. After I rolled out of bed I proceeded to make sure everything was all packed and ready to go. Then to my great dismay I realized I’d forgotten to pack my tooth brush! What a rookie travel mistake, I even remember carefully setting it aside while I packed in Walla Walla but for some reason it never made it into my bag. Oh well, at least I had toothpaste. So far, besides the whole no tooth brush situation, my first 24 hours in Peru were still going great! After staying in the home of our gracious host, Tio Will, by 5 am we were off to catch our flight from Lima to Cusco. We made it with plenty of time to spare and I’m not proud to admit that I had breakfast at the McDonald’s in the airport. I know, I know, how could I eat at McDonald’s when I’m in Peru! Well the answer is simple, it was an airport and the pickings were slim (at least if you wanted breakfast food, which I did). I don’t remember much of the flight from Lima to Peru cause I managed to sleep on the plane. Now this is a big deal to me, I’ve gone on 10+ hour flights and barely slept 30 minutes. We got off the plane and were picked up by our ADRA contact Willy, who drove us to our hotel. Below is a picture of the inside of our hotel:
After we got settled into our rooms our hosts were kind enough to make us some tea that’s traditionally used in Peru and other South American countries to help with altitude sickness. Due to its legal standing in the United States it will not be named in this blog, but it rhymes with mocha and starts with a C.
We then talked business with Willy (our ADRA contact) and had a very pleasant time catching up with him. Now it was food time! We asked our hotel if they had any recommendations that had vegetarian options and they suggested a great restaurant, but unfortunately for us it was a long ways away. After we managed to walk the ten or so feet across the street to the restaurant we arrived! Though the journey was long and the roads road was treacherous, it was all worth it in the end. We ordered a couple of dishes like quinoa cream soup, a quinoa omelet and the tradition Peruvian dish Papa a la huancaína (sliced boiled potatoes covered in a spicy cheese sauce). Though this dish pictured below is usually served cold since we had it cold the night before we decided to live life on the edge and order it warm! I quickly discovered that I preferred it warm.
While eating we met with a representative from Maranatha so she and Trei, the ASWWU representative for Project Mosacc Wasi, could talk logistics. After lunch we decided to do touristy things like shop for souvenirs. Though I hate haggling prices it was a fun experience and I ended up getting a few things though I won’t mention them in this blog because I know my sister is reading and that would spoil everything! We ended the day with dinner at a restaurant that, to my great delight, had a fantastic vegetarian burger. We made our way back to the hotel with the hopes of catching up on some lost sleep and much needed rest from our almost nonstop traveling. Happy Sabbath from Peru!