Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pasmata Water Project – Progress report for 10/23/2011

The weeks are starting to melt together. We have been here around 11 weeks now, and while I feel like we have made some amazing progress in getting Pasmata water, in the same blush I know there is so much more to be done. Here’s what’s been accomplished lately, some pretty great and positive stuff!

New Project Start Date: After much delay with permission from the Finca de Pasmata, and because we’re still waiting for the Rotary Matching Funds Grant to come through (which will likely take some time!), I have decided it would be best to push back the tentative project start date to February. This will allow us to wait for the Finca de Pasmata to either 1.) respond and approve our request or 2.) Allow the alcaldia to move in and put the Nicaraguan Law (ley 40) to the test, since it’s the law that water is available to all. The law says that this can only take a maximum of 45 days after the 3rd attempt to have approval. So this could take some time... More on this as I find out, we have an advisory meeting with the alcalde and the alcaldia lawyer on October 31st.

Community Meeting: The meeting has been postponed to October 30th, and after talking with Karla quite a bit, we decided that it would be best to have this meeting simple and to the point about the project, what it will entail, and how the community is needed to help. More details to follow. This meeting will be very important as it will serve as a gauge for how many manual laborers we can expect per day, as well as the overall community perspective of the project.

Assembling the troops: This has been a lot of fun. As I mentioned before, I have met with a few engineers and foremen to get a guage for the availability of skilled labor and engineering that are available. From these meetings worth noting was one hydraulics engineer Roman, who during our meeting made it very evident that he’s highly capable to run the supervision of this project. Also, yesterday I had the pleasure of acquainting Jamie, a foreman who does specifically water system construction, with the project in Pasmata. While walking where we’re hoping to put the line, and discussing where we’re hoping to put the retention, it became evident also that he was highly capable and knew his stuff. I spoke with him about his recommendations for the project, his availability, and his rate along with the rate of 4 skilled laborers.

I began to ask Jaime how he runs his ship. He told me his interaction with the engineer, and with his team, and I was very impressed. He invited me to visit his project site in Las Pampas, where he is installing much larger project for a community half the size of Pasmata (a larger project in that the source is much further away than Pasmata’s source (9km as compared to 3km). I will be visiting this site next week.

After this meeting, and some thought, I have decided that what this project will need after the permission has been granted, the drawings are all complete, a thorough budget is made, the money is secured, and the community labor forces are arranged (my goals!), there will be no need for an actual engineer to be in the field. Jamie expressed the engineer’s job at his current work site, and this engineer only shows up one day a week for about 1 hr to check over the drawings and give Jaime a pat on the back. Obviously I will be checking to see if this is actually true next week. Not having to pay an engineer will make this project far more economically feasible.

Also, as I mentioned in an email, having a Peace Corps person to report back to us matter of factly concerning project progress, will be highly beneficial. And she (Lindsey) is free of charge!

THEREFORE, a breakdown of the project will be as follows (and please express your feelings on how I am running this), copy this link into your address bar to view:

The crux now is getting the community on board, and getting the permission!

Designs: I have drawn up designs for the retention, the sedimentation tank, and the distribution tank, and am still working on getting exact figures for how the transmission (conduction), and distribution (domestic) lines will look. I have some great examples from what the Alcaldia office has put together for their past project, so with the help of my AutoCAD wizard of a dad (he has worked with AutoCAD for Shell Oil refineries for 35 years), my handy dandy GPS, and MS paint, I should have something to send everyone in the next couple of weeks…again pending that we can fully clear and walk the line. I can get project design calculations to anyone who is interested, but it will take some finagling. I am making sure that everything to do with this project is being backed up and well organized for the upcoming FCP rep.

So that’s about it. It comes down to having:

  • Complete and legal permission from land owners
  • Drawings completed
  • An exact budget made
  • Money from FCP, the alcaldia, Travis’s grant, Rotary, and Pasmata in one readily accessible account
  • A labor force constructed, and a contract signed by a foreman (we have this ready)
  • Materials, Tools, equipment ordered
  • A place for the Materials, tools, equipment to be stored (thinking the church)
  • And basically a marriage of all of these things working together by Feb….
  • I am sure I'm forgetting something...

I am hopeful that this can be done, we have mad steps to get each and every one of these items covered. Wish us luck, and we’ll do the same while you search for another FCP rep.

Jess and Jeff

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