Thursday, August 3, 2006

weekly update plus

It is so hard to sit down and sumarize what we have done and learned each week... it is so much more than fits in these words and my time in front of the computer...
Last sunday we had an extended and extremely fruitful meeting with the community water board in which we planned to work every sunday to set weekly goals and work plans, and then have a meeting with the entire community every monday. We also went through the mothly costs of running their water system in order to revise their budget and the monthly tarriff that the families will have to pay for water. It came out to about 4 dollars a month per family, which they at first said was way too much, that families wouldn´t pay that. We talked around it from other directions, how if just once in that month you have to take your kid to a doctor in puyo because he drank contaminated water it costs more than 5 dollars, how much would you pay for 500 liters of pure and clean water, etc, and they (the water board) realized that it was actually within reason, and prepared themselves to present the budget to the community the next day. We also taught the water board members how to serve as facilitators for the activities we had planned for the meeting the next day.
Monday meeting: many fewer families came this time than last time, which was a disappointment. Even the president of the community didn´t show... we had great sucess with our two group activities and a game at the end (they were remarkable in how much they had absorbed the material and knew the answers), but ran into problems with the more administrative decisions we wanted to make--form work groups to work on the dam project, select candidates for operator, and see what the community thought about the budget etc--because we didn´t have a majority of the families.
Tuesday: it rained like crazy... we were all ready with a good group of people to divide into two group`s, one working on the extension of the distribucion line out to the farthest houses (not part of our work, but part of the community´s responsibilty to the contractor to help in the construction) and the other group to fix up the temporary dam and start excavating the foundation if it was dry enough. INstead we spent the day on the technical manual, and also Froy went into town to get the ball rolling on the production of a booklet we want to produce with excerpts from where there is no doctor.
Wednesday: it continued raining, but lighter, so we went up to the river with a group of people from the community and discovered that the river had risen about a meter, maybe 10 times the flow of water from the day before... it is the rainforest after all, these rivers grown and shrink an incredible amount on a daily and weekly basis. Our temporary dam actually held admirably well, except one hole due to the force of the water. We created an addition to the dam, and cleared out a good path for the water to drain out from where we are going to construct once the sun starts to shine and the water level drops. In the afternoon we sat down with a few key members of the comunity, including the president, who told us that the community had decided back 3 years ago that the community couldn´t afford to pay an operator and that the operation of the system was to be done by the community water board.

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