Tuesday, March 15, 2011

At the Internet Cafe

Howdy readers!

Natalie here with the team in an internet cafe doing some post impliementation & other project related work. 

The much anticipated post about THE CLIMB. But first a few updates for the project commiteee.

  • We are working on getting the MOU signed. We still are having trouble getting all parties on board because of the water meter situation and some financing issues but hopefully those will be addressed at our meeting today with the Major, architects and Water Committee.
  • The excavation is still underway. Because the volunteers were not aware of the dimensions before they started digging the upper pumpstation is a bit too wide and the lower pump station still needs some work. No worries though, with some quick thinking by Dave Tanzi, we adjusted our desgins for the upper pump station. 
  • We gave Angel and the family the gifts that they prepared and they were very thankful. They thanked us for our work so far and Angel told Monal (la jefa) how proud he was of her work in leading our commitee. Steven and Nancy (Angel's children) want to be engineers as well ;)

After our meeting with the architects yesterday we had a quick lunch and piled into a pick up truck heading for the pump station sites. The road was pretty bump but I got a couple of nice photos of us passing through the clouds. Yes, passing through. NSCI is about 10,000ft above sea level and we were driving up the side of a mountain.

When the truck stopped, it seemed as though we were in just another part of the mountain. Little did we what would happen next...

Okay, enough with the suspense. We arrived to observe the volunteers efforts in excavating the lower and upper pump station sites. But we had to get there first. The slopes were narrow and steep. There was a lot of clumsy slipping and sliding and nervous glances off the edge of the path that we were on. Once we made it to the upper pump station ( a 10 minute descent), Dave offered that this was only the 'upper' pump station... the lower one was much, much lower.

At the upper pump station we took pictures and dimensioned the current state of the hole. As mentioned before, they dug a bit too wide but we made corrections in the design for that. We noted the material on the left side of the hole (which is also the the side of the upper station tank) as it would need to be drilled for the new pumps we want to install. Herbert spoke with the volunters and got them on board with what we were looking for and we left for the lower pump station.

The lower pump station was more like a 15 minute descent and by the time we got there the voulnteers there had left for the day. Again we dimensioned the excavated hole and made note of how much digging was left to do. At the lower pump station there was a nice view of the mountain side and even though we were very high up already, the treetops at the top of the mountain seemed to be at the same level as the sun. I understand why Guatemala is known as 'the land of the high trees'. After a short photo op, we went a bit higher to try to see the springs. We ended up seeing the waterfall and deciding it was time to go back.

Going down was a lot easier...

Dave said most of the difficulty was because we were not used to the evlevation and so we lost our breath quickly. Monal told me about the time when they did the same hike in the pouring rain and I thought not to complain too much. Even so, the slopes were extra steep when going up and it took us twice as long to go up than it did to go down. Not something I am looking forward too again although we made plans to see the sites again tommorrow.

On Wednesday the materials should be at the sites for the begining of construction. We are excited to see that progress.

In other news, spirits in the community are up, our team is hopeful and we have beautiful weather in NSCI today.

Questions, comments, concerns or just miss us wildly? Leave us a comment! Pictures to be up soon.
:) :) :)


  1. Do the locals climb the steep slopes with the greatest of ease? Does it seem kind of like flat land to them?

    Describe the biggest differences between them and Americans. Specifically in regards to culture and general trends in personality.

  2. I remember doing that hike... EASY! But I am glad you made it all safely back and are enjoying the internet. What is the internet speed like there?

  3. Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.