Four months ago, our tank design for Porvenir looked like this:

Site Plan 3D Rendering 001

It’s pretty incredible when something that was just in our minds, or just on paper, starts to take form in real life. We’ve been asking ourselves each step of the way – is it real yet? That this idea we had back in September is solid and three-dimensional now? Every day the answer was no. We wouldn’t believe it until it was all done. In fact, Ariel and I still claim it’s not real until the PIPA delivers the water and the community remembers to chlorinate it. But today, I guess the answer is kind of a yes. There it is, in real life, blending right into the background scenery:

The Finished System


We finished everything around 11am, except for the some of the chains because we don’t have any more snap links. We had scheduled a meeting for 2:30 to discuss chlorination and who would get the keys. Naturally we told everyone the meeting was at 2. Unfortunately, Erynne wasn’t in on that sleight of mouth and told them the actual time (oof freshman move), so between that and finishing early we ended up lying around and playing soccer with the kids for several hours while we waited for people to show up. Freshman moves aren’t all bad.

Catherine and Erynne also collected more data points from the GPS. They just finished entering all 83 of them into our Excel sheet. Listening to their progress on the bunk bed across from me assures me that it is thrilling work. That was sarcasm.

We had a camp for the kids during the meeting. Erynne and Ryan taught them to play agua, agua, jabón (our version of duck duck goose) and Viene La PIPA, a variant of Viene El Capitán. They put glitter on the kids’ hands before that one to demonstrate how germs spread.

Mike and crew showed up for the meeting too. Graciela brought a ribbon to cut.

After that official-sounding business was taken care of, it was time for soda and galletas. Earlier this morning, Ariel and I bought a giant piñata of the Angry Bird variety. It was bright pink and turned out to be very robust. I’ve never seen a piñata last longer than ten minutes, and I’ve also never seen such aggressive hits, despite the fact that some of the kids had never seen one before. It was definitely the most popular party participant.

I made up with Luis Antonio for hitting me in the head and handed him his very own cinta (measuring tape). I forgot to mention that he came up with a name for Ariel yesterday – la gringita. He gave Catherine so many hugs goodbye that the community decided she was his new girlfriend. I hugged Luisa and she was almost in tears. I can’t pretend I understood exactly what she said, but it was something about being old and what a pain in the ass it used to be to go down to the river. I hope that our implementation really is the answer to that problem. But until I hear that the PIPA truck came (and later, that the rainwater catchment system works), it’s not real enough for me. All I could say was good luck.

Bob had a much better line, which he got Ariel to translate for him: “At the university, they teach us to work with our heads. But being with you guys in Porvenir has taught us to work with our hearts.” Daww.

On our way home we stopped at a couple of ferreterías to see if they had any snap links. Neither of them did, but at the second one I encountered a personal success of the day – I finally managed to obtain a machete. Price: $4. You’re welcome, Mom.

Tomorrow – because why not keep moving – we go to Usulután to check out a new community that has asked us to help with a water project. Long drive. Getting up early. Night night.