Monday, March 14, 2011

They are in NSCI !!!!!!

At 11:38pm EST, I had first contact with the EWB-USA Rutgers Guatemalan travel team. I spoke with Monal, Sheel, and Natalie on speaker phone. I did not hear Herbert or Dave on the other end. They started out telling me that the days are warm and the nights are cold, but everyone already knew this.

In the morning, they drove from Antigua to NSCI on a three hour car ride. After a long and winding car ride, they were introduced to the family who were eager to welcome EWB-USA Rutgers into their house for a fourth time! This was Monal's 3rd time, tying Sandy's World Record. Dave and Herbert have been to NSCI once before while Natalie and Sheel are in unfamiliar territory in the Alaska of Guatemala.

Right away, this awesome travel team jumped into action! After the introductions were finished with the family, who is doing great, they scheduled a meeting with the Water Committee. About 25 members of the W.C. were present. Each side exchanged updates of their past happenings. EWB-USA Rutgers discussed their updates with finding funding and getting TAC approval, along with discussing the pump supplier contract they signed the day. The W.C. then took their turn in telling EWB-USA Rutgers what they had been up to.

The W.C. said they were not able to fully start excavation because it was much harder than they previously expected. It has been delayed for several reasons, including rocks and the location. They were able to get some progress with the Upper Pump Station but have not started the Lower Pump Station yet. Without a town engineer, they had difficulty in understanding the engineering drawings, resulting in additional delays for starting work. In a town meeting with the Muni last week, they learned that the town now has an Architect who can help them. Additionally, the W.C. wants to have a meeting with the Muni and EWB about the water meters. The community likes the idea of water meters but they first want to know how much water they will be getting. The current mayor is a temporary mayor and there will be elections in September. That means many things can change within a few months. Overall, everyone felt that the meeting was successful and productive.

Moving forward, the travel team will be waking up early! Actually, Monal, Natalie, Sheel, and Herbert will be waking up early. Dave gets to sleep in. They all have a meeting with the town Architect at 8am. Together, they will work together to calculate the materials that will be required and they may go and purchase the materials tomorrow after determining what is needed. The hopeful plan is to have the materials in the town by Tuesday, allowing the travel team to work closely with the Water Committee to start on the Upper Pump Station and set an example of how to do the Lower Pump Station when EWB is not there and back at Rutgers studying and fundraising!

On the offbeat of work, the travel team was able to enjoy playing basketball with Angel's (host family's father) children in the backyard. Nancy is one of the children and she is very good at basketball. She is a sixth grader. Natalie thought it would be funny to dunk but Nancy totally owned Natalie. Additionally, Monal said that Sheel was scared to play with the children because they were that good.

The travel team may be using the tuuk tomorrow, which is always a fun experience for n00bs.

For dinner, the travel team had pasta with Alfredo sauce, beans, gravy, and eggs. It was quite delicious; Sheel and Natalie still don't believe previous travel team members' (like myself) accusations about the lack of taste in the food. They loved dinner!

The quote of the day happened during the Water Committee Meeting. As the W.C. was introducing themselves by name, in succession were "Jose" and "Jose Mas." So Herbert commented that the next person's name must be "Jose Mas Mas," or "Jose More More."

In closing, the travel team is doing the post implementation work as they go. Monal says "A lot of things are different here than we were actually hoping. We are going to try to get as much work done this week that we can." Madhuri wished them to be safe and Elaine reminded them about contacting the German Embassy for a grant.

The travel team will be calling tomorrow so have your questions and comments ready!! They are really excited for this blog and are very curious for what you may ask! 

-Brian Goodacre


  1. OMG I kind of wish i were there right now! I am sure you guys will get so much work done and have sooo much fun at the same time! i am so excited that the W.C. actually likes the idea of water meters, and i wish the meeting with the Architect will go superbly! Please tell the family Chino said hi and sends her love!!

  2. Excellent post Brian :)

    And great updates for the blog travel team. Sounds like things are working out pretty fast, which is great since you guys are not there very long.

    What did you think about the tuuj?
    Can we get a comment or two from Dave? I want to hear what he has to say about water meters and the architecture (competent? etc).
    Can you tell the familia te extrano mucho? I miss them a lot and I send my love as well :)

    And, Brian was the only person in the history of travel to Guatemala who did not like the family's food. Everyone else loves it.

    Loving the Jose Mas joke lol

  3. You guys sound like you are having so much fun! So jealous, haha. (Not that writing grants and doing homework isn't fun... :P)

    What's a tuuk?

    Perhaps if we do the final implementation in the summer, we can talk to the mayoral candidates before elections just so they have a sense of who we are. Then we can try and stay in contact afterwords to solidify a last relationship with the Muni.

    Herbert's quote is win!

    Webmaster note: Pictures of you guys with Nancy please? (Haha, actually any good pictures at all would make me happy.)

  4. This is a little late but I'm so jealous! I wanna see these kids play awesome basketball.

    I'm glad you guys got a lot of work done with the W.C. I hope you also got across the issue of obtaining all the funds. Tell them how hard we're working! Any discussion about water meters?

    Good post Brian!