Digging in the sand...

With swearing-in so close, it was time to break out of the training center for some more ‘hands-on’ experiences. Wat-San, in particular, went to visit a current volunteer in Ica and aided in constructing five different styles of bathrooms. My team in particular built a baño de arostre (sp?), or a pour flush latrine. This is essentially a regular bathroom (complete with shower and sink) without running water. So to dispose of waste, you just pour the water down the toilet, which goes into a septic tank that we also constructed. The idea here is that the municipality was to create a waste-water system within the next year in the neighborhood, and that this bathroom would be able to be hooked up to the system when the time comes. That’s thinking ahead for sure, but also allows for a backup plan if the system **somehow** didn’t get completed when it was supposed to.

While we were originally supposed to start on Thursday afternoon, the supplies hadn’t arrived at the site yet. They did arrive later in the afternoon, but by then the day was shot. Welcome to Peru. We spent the good part of Friday morning planning out how exactly everything was going to be laid down, but by the afternoon we made great progress in laying down the base slab, figuring out the plumbing and laid the foundation down for the septic tank. That left us with Saturday morning, where we essentially just laid down the brick wall in the septic tank, and added a ventilation tube to the waste line to avoid a gas build up in the septic tank. Minor stuff. It’s kinda weird to say it, but it was a fun weekend. It did feel like being on a spring break work trip or something like that since we were just in and out with the construction.
This work trip was also a good break in to getting used to how projects will work in the future. With tech theatre, supplies were delivered on time or earlier, and there was a lot of planning before actual construction hit. And then every project had a time-table, and there was a certain deadline for the set being ready, the lighting and so on. While people who had done this project before obviously took care of most of the planning, we just kinda went in blindly, step by step figuring things out. And it took a bit to adjust to having to wait for supplies and shuffling our feet here and there at the beginning. So it was definitely a good break in period for me, especially since we start field based training in a week and then we leave for our sites in a few weeks.

It was good practice for us, but also the volunteer who organized the program. Builders without Borders, an organization that sends high-schoolers to do development construction work, will be coming and joining a couple Peru projects in the late winter and early Spring. This will be one of the sites where they’ll be working, and our presence helped the volunteer better understand the logistics needed (they spent most of the time moving from work site to work site and coordinating than anything else) and how to manage all these projects going on at once. And there’s a chance that some of us will return to either this site or the other one or two that will have Builders without Borders to help lead the building teams, which would be really cool.

So overall it was a win-win-win.