Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Monal's Take on Guatemala Happenings

Hi people!

This is the first time I am posting on the blog!  I would like to thank all those who read our posts and comment on them. It really motivates us to make sure we are productive everyday and have some updates for you all.

The travel team is having a wonderful time here. Last night, Dave talked to us about the projects he works on for CDM and we learned a lot about civil engineering, and how things in the real professional world work. Besides that, the sky was very clear at night we were able to point out a couple constellations and the planet "Saturn" in the sky! But it got really cold at night! I was sleeping with a pair of gloves, two pairs of socks, and a hoodie on and I still shivered! Every morning we wake up with the noises of some bird pecking on the roof, the family chopping wood  and then a random guy selling "queso" really early in the morning. lol

Today, we went to the site with the town architects. The people of the community were already there since 8 in the morning bringing materials like water, wood, cement bags, rebar, sand etc to the site. About 40 people were working at the site. It was sad to see them carry such heavy loads on their backs down the mountain to the pump station. The community seemed very enthusiastic about this. Actually, last night they had a town meeting where they went over the MOU with all the people and also signed up to help out at the site today. An interesting observation here was: they only decided yesterday to call this town meeting and sent a car around the town with a person announcing the meeting on a big microphone. And about 300 families showed up to this meeting to go over the MOU and learn about the project schedule for the next day.

Back to the site visit...we went to the site and they already had a lot of materials there. The architect and Dave went over all the dimensions and instructions with the members of the community who will be building-Miguel and Enrike. It was good to see them ask questions to Dave and the Architect. The Architect made sure that the people understood everything and we made some marks showing dimensions and directions for them. The people planned to finish laying the aggregate for the base slab today.

Later today...we have a meeting with the Water Committee to discuss the MOU...lets see how that goes.

Tomorrow...we are meeting with the Mayor and the Water Committee to really finalize the MOU. I am not sure if we will be able to sign it tomorrow. After that we plan on going to the site again to monitor the progress. The community plans to put in the rebar and pour the concrete for the base slab tomorrow.

Other thoughts....I am learning a great deal about structure construction on this trip! It is really cool to see how so many details go into the construction of a simple concrete chamber. Also, it is lucky for our project to have Mouracio and Wilda (the architects). They will be helping out with the construction and they seem to know what they are doing! Also, I am very happy with the way things are going for our project. WE HAVE TO RAISE ALL THE MONEY TO IMPLEMENT IN JULY! The community is really hoping for it. LET's RAISE SOME MORE MONEY SOON :)

That's all I can think of for now....We will keep you guys posted. I am loving this!



  1. I warned you about the queso guy.

    Q: Are you guys videotaping things down there?

  2. Really happy for your team to achieve so much success in the project. I am looking forward to joining you guys in the following year when i enter college.

    however, i have a question. didn't you guys raise enough money in the past few months...?

  3. I'm lovinn all the construction work pictures! You guys are really doing a great job! I think I cried a little inside when I saw all of them because its 2+ years worth of worth turn into action.

    I'm happy you get learn so muchh and that the architects are working well with Dave! Dave is awesome =) Also I love how proactive the community is about the MOU. You guys are accomplishing our two biggest goals for this trip - communication and construction!

    Keep up the amazing work!

  4. Monal!---how did you know the car was calling out that there was a meeting???? you understand quiche now???

    btw....Enrike is Enrique!!

    Tomorrow we will have a good fiesta!!!!

  5. Good post Monal :) Are you learning more Spanish this time around?

    I'm so glad to see you guys enjoying your time there. You're going to be the future of our organization, so make sure you create lasting memories that you can share with the new members! A great story goes a long way (and so do pictures of cute kids holding up Thank You signs heehee)

    What are the names of the architects? I'm also really curious to know how it goes with the MOU!

    Also did you guys not take earplugs? Those really helped me with sleeping well. But then I guess you don't get to wake up to "queso!"