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Nov

18

Silent Auction 2012 Wrap-Up

By ewbexec

We successfully held our 8th Annual Silent Auction “Nimwela” on Friday, November 9th! We raised over $1800 for our partnership with with the Naluja Community in Zambia! It was a great way for us to let everyone know what we’ve been up to these last couple of months and about our trip over the summer and we had a great time with many of the students, staff, alumni, and faculty members attending.

We had many exciting items up for auction, including:

  • “Cookie of the Month” by Professor Stormy Attaway
  • Tickets to Disney on Ice at TD Garden
  • After Work Pool Party from Jillian’s/Lucky Strike Boston
  • Weekend Stay at the Liberty Hotel in Boston
  • Authentic Zambian Items, including tea sets, baskets, and jewelry

… and much more! We also had an exciting keynote speaker in Julie Herlihy, who is currently working as an Assistant Professor in International Health and Pediatrics at Boston University’s Center for Global Health & Development (CGHD). Julie is a board-certified physician and has worked in Boston, Liberia, and Zambia. Dr. Herlihy has also worked as a volunteer school teacher in Zimbabwe. She is an absolute inspiration and we thank her for taking the time out of her busy schedule to speak at our Silent Auction! For more information, check out her profile. Julie talked about her experiences working in Africa, as well as Project Mwana (which our antenna project is based off of), and the need for and potential from more integration and collaboration between doctors and engineers in order to increase health care standards.

The evening was a lot of fun. In addition to great auction items and an inspirational figure in Julie, we were able to hear our Zambia travel team speak. They spoke of the conditions they found in the Naluja Community during the summer, the work they’ve been able to do so far, and what we hope to accomplish in the next year and beyond.

We heard not only about Project Mwana, which our project is based on, but also about the water quality conditions and how the Naluja Clinic runs. The travel team had some fun stories for us about how everyone received a Zambian name, a Nalujan kid was able to win a slingshot off one of our travelers, and how there were even a couple of marriage proposals! It was a great way to reconnect our Silent Auction with what we’re trying to achieve in Naluja. For more information about our project, check out our website or EWB-USA profile.

Thank-You! This could not have happened without your support.

We would like to thank our awesome Fundraising team, and our Fundraising Chair James Parsons and Silent Auction guru Saana McDaniel of the BU Mechanical Engineering Department in particular. Everyone put forth a lot of time and effort as well, and were integral to making this event successful!

Lastly, but certainly not least, we would like to thank all who attended, in addition to our supporters and donors. We could not have done it without you! Check out the full list here.

Check out more photos of our Silent Auction on our facebook page!

Aug

6

Day 40

By elissam

We fly back to the states within the next couple of days. Charlie and I flew out this morning from Lima at 7AM. Richard leaves later this evening, and Jeremy and Paolo both missed their flights because the bus from Chiclayo got in to Lima late, so they will be leaving as soon as they can.

Aug

5

Day 39

By elissam

We  caught the busses last night from Pedro Ruiz, and are now stopped in Chiclayo. Jeremy and Paolo’s bus has left- they have a direct ride to Lima and had only stopped for about half an hour. Charlie, Richard, and I spent the day in Chiclayo because we missed our 8:30 AM bus connection, and there are no other busses leaving for Lima until 7PM- too late to make all of our flights back to the states. We spent the day trying to find all of the bus information to work out that there were no earlier busses, and that we would have to fly back to Lima. We took a cab to the travel agency to book tickets for a 6PM flight, and got all of our baggage stored in Movil tours while we went out to find lunch and an internet cafe.

Aug

4

Day 38

By elissam

We spent the morning going over the preliminary project report that one of the government engineers had made earlier this year and finding the President of the University in Chachapoyas to sign the agreement from yesterday. Now that we have all of the signatures, we are officially collaborating on the filtration project with the government and university, and we are going to be receiving funding from the regional government. We had agreed earlier in the year that the regional government would fund 80% of the project if we collaborated on it with them. Now we have their approval to start the project, and will need to present all of our designs to the government to ensure their continued approval, but much of the project is funded and the filters will be built much more quickly.  We will also be working with the engineer who wrote up the preliminary report to revise his report, which did not originally include filters- just a new piping system, and design the new system. 

When we returned to the hotel, we found out that our flights back to Lima from Mendoza had been cancelled. We spent the rest of the afternoon arranging for someone to pick Charlie and Richard up in Chirimoto and drive them to Chachapoyas this evening so that we can catch a bus overnight to Lima, and hopefully arrive in time to catch our flights back to the states. We went to Movil Tours and bought bus tickets on two separate busses that would be leaving from the neighbring town of Pedro Ruiz- there were not 5 seats open on any one bus. Richard and Charlie arrived around 8:30 this evening, and we drove to Pedro Ruiz  to catch the bus to Lima.

Aug

3

Day 37

By elissam

We split up this morning. Jeremy, Paolo, Lucho and I left with a couple members of the water board for Chachapoyas to sign the collaboration agreement for the filter construction. Chalie and Richard stayed in Chirimoto to take the other soil sample and flow rate at Lambras and help clean up after the festival.

Somehow I managed to sleep on the way to Mendoza; I can’t imagine how because the gravel roads are in terrible condition, but I woke up and we were minutes outside the city. We stopped to change taxis, and were on our way. When we arrived in Chachapoyas, we found a hostal, and had lunch before meeting with the regional government to revise the documents, and go over details of our agreement with them and the University in Chachapoyas.

Aug

2

Day 36

By elissam

Today was our last day in Chirimoto. We drove Achamal to see the quarry in the morning. There were several sizes of rock and sand that look to be the right sizes for a couple of the filter layers. We are not sure if we will be buying the sand from this or another quarry, or using sand from the Shocol River. We came back for lunch, and then spent the afternoon helping around the Hummingbird House and out at the festival events. The band was playing again in the Municipality, and after dinner we went to dance and talk with everyone one more time before leaving. I ended up staying until the band stopped at 3AM, and then stayed out with the group I had been dancing and talking with for another hour until we had to go back to the Hummingbird House to finish packing.

Aug

1

Day 35

By elissam

We finished the last of the surveying this morning!

The road to Milpuc forks and we surveyed the branch that loops around to meet up with the other road from Chirimoto that passes the medical post and the old water system and filter.

We got back to the Hummingbird House a little after noon, ate lunch outside again with Panchito and his family, and then went to set up for the presentation we had planned for this afternoon. The other day we had prepared a power point that addressed several of the major development issues in the town, including the water project, kitchens, etc, so now we set up benches, the projector, and Lucho’s computer in the main room of the Hummingbird House and waited as much of the town filed in. It is encouraging to see such turn out and interest in community issues, although it is mainly the older men that come to these meetings, which are open to everyone.

After our presentation, the band moved back in, and we hosted a party for the younger children. We set out treats and invited all of the children, who are normally not invited to hear the band play as the dances are held for adults, and ended the party with a piñata. The place was crowded, and all the kids seemed to have a great time. Their party lasted about an hour, after which the adults came back in to dance and socialize themselves. The tournaments were also being held again, and I caught a little of the volleyball match. A couple of the girls on our team are really good.  After dinner, the orchestra played all night outside on the new dance floor that had been set up in the courtyard of the municipality.  I left around 1:00, and they were still playing. Each night the dancing starts at 10:00 and lasts until 3:00. The orchestra was much like the band- both are vocal groups with instrumental backup. The band is the more traditional cumbia, while the orchestra has more of a variety of music.

Jul

31

Day 34

By elissam

We slept in until around 9:00, had breakfast, and then went outside to watch the mass and procession around the plaza. The festival is the only time each year that the priest comes to Chirimoto, and after the first mass there is a procession from the church around the altars set up at the corners of the plaza in honor of various saints. 

After the mass, we had lunch with Otimio’s family again. Otimio owns the coffee farm on the road towards the medical post, a little ways up the mountain. We had been to his home once before, and today we were at a house in the Plaza where one of his realtives lives. After lunch we went back out to watch the sports tournaments again. We spent the evening talking with Ciro and Clemente, and then went into the dance when the band started playing. We didn’t stay too long tonight- just long enough to see Ciro up onstage winging and dancing with the band.

Jul

30

Day 33

By elissam

Today was the first full day of the festival. There were no real activities in the morning- it seemed that most of the town was sleeping in, so we decided to get some work done after breakfast and started surveying the road from Chirimoto to Milpuc . After Lunch the festivities began for the day. The band was se up in the main room of the Hummingbird House, and a few people were dancing. They also started the soccer and volleyball tournaments; we watched the end of the Chirimoto-Milpuc soccer game, which milpuc won.

The band moved outside after a few hours, and started to set up for the dancing later tonight, which would take place in the municipality.

Jul

29

Day 32

By elissam

Most of the day was spent helping with preparations for the festival, which starts this evening with a talent show & beauty contest. I spent most of my time painting the back wall and door of the bookmobile and adding the Hummingbird House logo to the door. Jeremy and Charlie went up to the reservoir at Mari Pata to take the flow rate from the pipes, and then returned to help in the afternoon. We helped clean up the Hummingbird House and put up photos and decorations until the water board meeting started at 7:00. 

We began the meeting by discussing the excavation and surveying we had done at the Vista Alegre source (Yacuñao) the other day. We explained that we found a flat, relatively large and clearable place above the main reservoir at which to build the new filter. The excavation was dug to the specifications of the engineer who had come to talk with us the other day: 2m deep and roughly 1m wide on each side. A similar hole will have to be dug at Lambras before we leave. As we are running short on time and the board members need to understand the processes behing our project, someone from the board will come up to help us dig and choose the other filter location. We have also asked the board to prepare sand and other materials for when we return in December to repair the Mari Pata system. 

The rest of the meeting was spent discussing and setting up the email account for the board, and walking several members through the process of logging on, writing, and sending an email. When this was over, it was almost time for the festival to start. We returned to the Hummingbird House for dinner, and then went over to the municipality to watch the ceremony.