Today began with dusty ride in the back of a pickup truck to Porvenir, We had a community meeting scheduled for 9, so of course it started around 10:30. Paige and Ariel talked, Grace understood, and Jesse took pictures! We expressed to the community that we can’t promise anything, especially because we’ve been working there for a long time without coming up with an ideal solution, but that we’re going to try our hardest and are hopeful.

With a few community members, we visited the three main water sources in the community. The first was Domingo’s spring box, which has been the focus of our work to date in El Porvenir, and the source most people used. March is the height of the dry season here, and the river by the spring is much lower than it’s been in January. We’re going to be taking lots more data there through the week. Next, we visited Tomás’ well, which has significantly more water than Domingo’s spring box, and is full of bees. One of the community members bravely took a water sample for us. Next, we walked a couple kilometers up the road to a well we had never visited before, owned by a man who doesn’t live in the community. This well served as the main source of water right after the earthquake a few years ago, but is not a little far out of the way for community members. The community members shook mangoes out of a tree and peeled them for us. Yummy!

In the afternoon, we divided and conquered. Ariel and Paige went house-to-house surveying people about their health and water usage. We learned that Salvadoreños are very friendly people, and also some old men think they don’t have to open their mouths when they talk, rendering them utterly unintelligible. Bob, Grace, and Jesse took water samples and surveying data along the river. In Grace’s words, “It was hot. The cows are nice.”

After maybe the best showers of our lives, we went out to Mike’s administrative assistant Graciela’s family’s restaurant. Pupusas galore! And for the record, Ariel ate way more than Jesse.  We then went to the town center, where there was celebration for the Fiesta San José with a big wooden structure that had spinny fireworks on it. While the liberal arts students among us oogled at their beauty, the engineers analyzed the metals necessary to create the different colored flames. Afterward, it was back to work getting our water samples in the incubator and discussing the survey results. We’ve got another full day ahead of us tomorrow, entonces buenas noches todos!

~ Travel Team