Remember the large trench that prevented vehicle access from Huatabamba to Pucutuni? Well, the muni has stepped in and is closing the gap. For the last few days, a large bulldozer has been pushing large boulders down into the bottom of the trench, where flows a small stream, and shoving large quantities of soil on top. Although this new development may seem ill timed to some, as the delivery of materials for our project was completed nearly a week ago, we are nonetheless excited and happy to see the muni lending a hand to better the lives of its constituents living in far-away communities like Pucutuni.
With three days left until the departure our professional mentor Jim Wodrich, the team has been pushing the community members and working hard to reach the testing phase of our project. Before Jim leaves, we would like to test the gravity-fed water system we are installing to identify any problems it may have so that he can help us resolve them. The remaining tasks to be completed before entering the testing phase includes: improving the spring box, laying out hundreds of meters of HDPE pipe, setting up the two water tanks to be connected to the HDPE pipe, and connecting the tap stands to the mainlines directed from water tank outlets.
Although one can plan, plan, and plan, every now and then life will throw you a curve ball and your success depends on how well you can hit it. For the first half of the day, we were a bit frustrated as our two native Spanish speaking team members were both missing. They both rode with Pulsiano, our main man at ADRA Cusco after our routine visit to the muni in the morning. Not having our Spanish speakers slowed down our progress as ideas and tasks proved difficult to communicate to the community members. While waiting for our Spanish speakers, Braden, Chris, and Leighton began laying out the HDPE pipe and welding the ends together, using a method Jim had taught them during the school year at Walla Walla. The rest of the team began working on the spring box.
After eating lunch, we were surprised to see Pulsiano’s jeep driving up on the dirt road towards to Pucutuni. This was surprising because the road at the large trench was not completed. We later learned that the reason that they were late was that in their attempt to drive all the way up the mountain, the jeep got stuck in the dirt that had been poured in the trench to cover the boulders. They were saved when a muni 4X4 truck arrived and pulled them out of the mud, allowing them to continue their drive up the mountain to our project site.
Although we had a rough start in the morning, we quickly bounced back—hitting the curve ball and making a run for home base. With our Spanish speakers present, communication became much easier and we quickly assigned tasks to the community members. However, this period of progress became a bit bumpy when the welded valve box lid was finally delivered to the project site: it was too small! After some consideration, Jim decided that the best remedy for the situation would be to redo all the forms for the valve box instead of having a completely new metal lid welded. Under his direction the spring box crew rapidly rebuilt the forms and they are ready to be filled with concrete tomorrow morning.
At the end of our day, Braden, Chris, and Leighton had HDPE pipe laid out from the spring box to the two water tanks (about 600 meters), Wes and our trusty driver, Yuri, had begun setting up the tanks, and Jim, Dr. Nelson, Bryce, and Josue had the new forms for the valve box installed. Tomorrow we are hoping to complete the remaining tasks that are preventing us from entering the testing phase of our project.
Just as the gap between Huatabamba and Pucutuni is being closed, we too are on the verge of completing our work here in Pucutuni. We hope you will continue to support us in any way you can.