The morning began for most of us with a relaxing 3:30 a.m. alarm. I spent the next ten minutes questioning why we ever decided to book a 6:00 a.m. flight. Following a final cleanup of the house and some scrambling for luggage, Rob, Roxanne, Ariel, Luke, Jake and I hopped into a cab at 4:15 a.m. Temperature outside was 12 degrees Fahrenheit, and while the cold was unpleasant to say the least, we were all eager to begin our trip and we enjoyed the slight of the sunrise from Logan. We had no problems making our connection flight in Atlanta and promptly landed in San Salvador at 1:05 p.m. (central time). A few questions and a stamped passport later, we walked out of the airport into the warm Salvadoran air, greeted by our Taxi driver, Julio. He drove us to Epilogos, a local NGO we have stayed with before and who will behousing us for the duration of our stay in San Jose Villanueva.
Our chapter of Engineers Without Borders has worked with the Epilogos team of Mike and Susie since 2005 assessing and implementing sustainable water projects. For about two years now, we have been working in the community of El Porvenir, a community in need of clean water during the dry season (November to April). Within the next few days, we will travel to El Porvenir with a primary focus of collecting data that will confirm the location of a water storage tank. Water will be piped from an existing spring box to this new storage tank which will ideally increase the clean water availability for the community. (Photos will be provided soon!) We also conversed with Mike about a potential future community to work with, Santa Maria. Santa Maria has access to clean water, but needs the water to be pumped uphill to a new location. The project has been funded by a Canadian rotary and all that would be needed is the design and implementation. To make things complicated though, the town adjacent to Santa Maria has recently been provided access to a national supply line of water and many speculate it is only a matter of time before Santa Maria also gains access to this supply essentially rendering any of our implementation useless. As fate would have it, it’s election season in El Salvador too. So, many candidates run with the proposition that many of these villages will have access to this supply of water. This leaves our chapter with a very gray playing field.
Over the next two weeks, we will be updating this blog daily, so keep checking it as we continue to post new photos and stories!
~Jesse and the Travel Team