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).

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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.

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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.

–Brian

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