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Jul

18

Day 21

By elissam

Late start this morning. After breakfast, we read over the plans for the improved kitchens and continued to work on calculating elevation points and drawing a preliminary map of the town. We are planning on spending some time this week looking at examples of improved kitchen projects that have been built in the area. We may be traveling to Omia to see some kitchens, and there is one that we know of in Chirimoto that we will be looking at later this week.

This afternoon is Lucho’s Cousin’s wedding. We left around 2:00 and started walking towards Pindicucho, another small neighboring town and the bride’s hometown. The ceremony was a small civil matrimony held in the bride’s family’s home. Dinner and dancing followed. We all felt awkward eating dinner with the bride and groom and their immediate families. After dinner, we watched the bride and groom dance with various relatives, and then the cumbia started and the dance floor was opened up to the rest of the guests. We left around 11 with a relative of Lucho’s who was heading back to Chirimoto.

Jul

17

Day 20

By elissam

Angel met Paolo and I this morning to take us up to the source at Mari Pata, while Jeremy, Charlie and Richard continued surveying. We had not gotten all the way up to the source the other day with the whole group, and we want to be sure that all of the sources are clean. We had taken the sample from where the stream reappeared, and are worried that the sample will have more contaminants that the source because much of the mountain is cow pasture. We are still waiting to see the coliform counts, but feel that we sould be consistent.  On the hike up, we were talking to Angel about the meeting last night and what he thinks would be best for the town; he seems to think it a bad idea to revive the old system because of the condition of the old pipes and because the system can only serve up to 3/4 of the town if the pipes are in good condition.

Although Mari Pata is closer to Chirimoto than the source at Lambras, the hike took longer- almost 4 hours- because the path was so dense. The source is actually several small streams that join, fall over a waterfall, and then flow down the mountain to the capture tanks. On the hike down, we passed the reservoir for the Foncodes system. We met the others at Alberto’s house for Lunch, and then returned to the Hummingbird House.

Jul

16

Day 19

By elissam

We spent the morning back at the reservoir and tank for the Mari Pata system.

Lucho and Jeremy returned from Mendoza late- about half an hour before the the water board meeting started. We discussed the organization and formation of committees to finish and/or mainatain any work we start during our stay, to help us while we are here. We spent the majority of the meeting discussing what our group will be doing when we return. We mentioned that we could refill the old filter and put the Maari Pata system back into operation when we return in January, and we gave the town the option of having us build both of the new filters, or letting the government build the filters with our supervision. While we are skeptical of allowing the government to work on another water system in Chirimoto, given the state of the last four, we have an offer for government funding and our group will be able to work with the government to agree on designs and supervise construction. Alone, our group would take several more years to complete the filters, so the board members agree that it would be a better idea to involve the government. Details will be discussed and confirmed at the next meeting. The board can not seem to decide if they want us to revive the old system or start right away in January on the new filters; they say that the project might not be worth it because we know nothing about the condition of the pipeline. Our thought is to revive the system as a model for the town and government to follow.

Jul

15

Day 18

By elissam

We all met up at the Trigoso’s after breakfast, and then went into Mendoza. Lucho took Jerry and Caitlin to the airport while the rest of us went to look around the shop for materials and get phone numbers. 

Lucho was late getting back because he had had to spend a long time arguing with the airport officials to get Jerry and Caitlin on their flight back to Lima. When he got back, Paolo and Art we not with him. They had gotten off in Chachapoyas and would be arriving later by taxi.

We had to borrow money to pay for our flights back to Lima because we found out that the bank in Mendoza would not take foreign cards and we were stuck without our money. Thankfully, we made it to the Municipality and got the tickets before the office closed. We spent the next couple of hours until Paolo and Art arrived at dinner and then buying groceries.

Jul

14

Day 17

By elissam

Angel met us at 8:30 to finish the second excavation of the piping systems. We had started found another place yesterday, in front of the house where the tanks from the old system are and started to dig, but ended up digging a trench and running water through it to soften the ground. Again, we were unsure of exactly where the systems would cross. This excavation should have shown us the intersection of the Old and Foncodes systems, and we uncovered both pipes, but not in the same place. We estimated the cross to be some ten feet away from the hole and trench we had dug. We also surveyed and measured the tank and reservoirs.

Rinchard, Charlie, and I left for Mendoza with Antonio Trigoso at 3- the others will come tomorrow in another car. While we were gone they held an impromptu water board meeting, and started to plan the commitees and our next meeting.

Jul

13

Day 16

By elissam

This morning we met with Angel to start digging up the intersections of the three piping systems. We have a map of the Foncodes system, but not of the parochial or old systems, and the community seems to only have a rough idea of where all of the pipelines actually are. We are hoping to eventually repair or replace the pipelines, and will need an accurate map of all three systems. We may also connect some of the existing pipes if they are undamaged. 

We started an excavation on the side of the road in front of the medical post, where Angel had said the Old and Foncodes systems crossed. The Foncodes system follows the current road down to the town, while the old system follows the old road leading from the medical post down to the town. It took a good hour and a half to dig up the segment of pipe, and we were not able to find the intersection- Angel estimated that we had dug too far up the road by about 15 or 20 feet. We saw Ciro while we were digging, and he brought us oranges. There are orange and plantain trees everywhere here, and we have seen Ciro out collecting them several ties so far. He seems to do several odd jobs around the town- we see him outside working on the gardens in the Plaza almost every day as well.

Jul

12

Day 15

By elissam

Late start this morning. We finished surveying the road to Vista Alegre and then went to Lunch with Abraham Rodriguez’ family. Abraham’s family owns a small store, as well as the one telephone and computer in the town. We were at their house the other day when we went to use the internet.

We also finished the water tests for Mari Pata today.

Jul

11

Day 14

By elissam

We went to collect water samples from the reservoir and stream at Mari Pata. We did not hike all of the way up to the source, but took water samples from the stream about half way up the mountain because the guide said that the source was very difficult to get to and that the stream was collected from several small sources and then went underground. He said that the stream reappeared close to where we were taking the samples. After the hike, we went to have lunch with Jose Archimedes and Tia Blanca. Archimedes showed us around their farm, and explained some of the projects he has been working on. He is trying to expand their coffee crop, has also build a machine and series of tanks to shell and clean the beans.

When we returned to the Hummingbird House, we worked on the water tests for the Mari Pata stream and reservoir. Some of the townspeople dug up one of the pipes from the old system so that we could see the type of pipes, and intersection where the system branched out to serve the houses around the plaza.

After dinner was Caitlin’s birthday party. Wilma baked a cake, and Lucho brought in speakers and invited people into the Hummingbird House to drink and listen to music and play Zappo.

Jul

10

Day 13

By elissam

After breakfast, we split up again to continue the water tests and survey the road towards Vista Alegre. Richard finished the rest of the chemical water tests while we finished most of the road- we had to come back when the battery died. We compiled a chart from all of the sources, and checked the bacteria tests, and then went to try to get on line. The internet is very slow.

Lucho showed us the tanks and reservoirs from the antique system. This system is fed by a third source called Mari Pata, which we had not known about before arriving in Chirimoto. The tanks have been out of use for decades, but the concrete is in tact and can be reused. The old system can still serve the roughly 60% of the town that was rebuilt below the tanks, and we hope to refill the tanks as a temporary source of clean water.

Jul

9

Day 12

By elissam

We went to Milpuc to talk with the Doctor, collect water samples, and see the quarry. The doctor went through the same survey that we had given to Martin the other day, and she had similar answers and comments. She added, however, that the office in Milpuc most needs a computer to keep track of paperwork. After meeting with the medic, one of the townspeople offered to go to collect the water samples while we went to visit the quarry. We found that the quarry had mostly fine sand, and that although the owner told us that there were various sizes of sand, everything we saw was too small to be used for the filters we want to build. 

When we returned from the quarry, we went to lunch at the municipality, and then returned to Chirimoto to start the water tests from the Milpuc sources.