Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pasmata Water Project – Progress report for 11/19/2011

The last month has had it’s ups and downs. With the election smack dab in the middle of it, Jessie and I were unable to work for around 8 days since we were advised to leave the country (we actually had to leave the country anyway to make sure we weren’t in Nicaragua with a tourist visa over 90 days). However, some great things were accomplished.

Accomplished since the last post:

Community Meeting: A whole community assembly took place on October 30th. This meeting was very important, because the turnout of this meeting was going to show us just how important this project is to the people of Pasmata. The meeting was advertised in 7 different common places in the town, and I scheduled domestic line mapping for that week so that I could personally tell everyone in the community that this meeting was taking place. In preparation for the meeting Karla and I created posters showing:

  • A map of the complete project: I drew this with markers, it wasn’t pretty J
  • A timeline: how long the project is predicted to take once digging starts (around 3 months, email me if you want a complete project timeline)
  • Funding contributions: Who was contributing and how much mas o menos
  • The Financial contribution requirement from the community: 200 Cords/family initially, 30 cords/family/month
  • A sign up list of squads: 8 squads in all are being asked to work, with at least 10 people per squad working 2x per week, people were asked to pick a squad leader and to work under them. I am working to get this list entered electronically.
  • The meeting was a complete success, over 125 people showed up, half leaders from households, the other women in the community. Already we have 15 of the roughly 135 households that have shown their interest by paying the 200 Cords. This meeting showed me that Pasmata is interested, and that we need to do this project well for them.

Assembling the troops: Lindsey was at the community assembly, she introduced herself and the community knows she’s going to be taking over general supervision when the project starts construction in February. Jaime, the project foreman is still on board, and I have decided that hiring a project engineer is not needed as long as we have approved project designs (see below).

Designs: I have designed the system components completely, all except the dam, since we’re still pending as to where we want to put the source, since to run the lines through the steep stream banks, we have to surmount an initial bump that brings us to around 835meters. The source location as of now is at 830, so to not risk having the flow stopped 100 meters from the dam, we’re likely to push it a bit more upstream. The topography is steep, and should only require another 100 meters of tubing, at most.

For system component designs, please see the email that I sent yesterday.

The complete system hydraulic calculations have yet to be completed, however I have the spreadsheet ready to go and simply need to place the GPS data into it. It’s actually not all that simple, since all of the data needs to be organized and exact pipe sizes iterated for, but it shouldn’t take more than 10hrs.

Permissions: Finally after 2 months of delayed meetings, false promises and frustration, we have legal approval to construct a water system on the land of the Finca de Pasmata! I have a copy of this contract that I will save in a file for FCP. We are still needing to get a legal contract written for the other land owners closer to Pasmata where we’re hoping to run the line, and the lawyer has told us that he’ll have them available by Tuesday of this week. However, all in all, we have these permissions guys, success!!

Pending Project Tasks:

Designs: I will be completing the system hydraulic calculations and sending these calculations out to everyone. With these calculations complete, I will be creating a design doc which summarizes everything for this design. I want EVERYONE to look at this design doc (if you haven’t already looked at the calcs I sent), to make sure I’m not missing anything. I will be sending this design document to the ex peace corps worker who made the spreadsheet I’m using to ensure I’m not missing anything, and will also have it completely looked over by Reyna, the project foreman Jaime and the engineer for ADRA Ramon Urbina.

Work Order: While these designs are being looked over, I will be creating an exact work order for the amount of supplies we’re going to need to order. Obviously, I will not be ordering any of these supplies until the entire system is approved by everyone. I have made contacts with a large hardware store on the way to Ocotal and will get exact prices from them before I leave.

Community Meeting: We are holding another community assembly on Dec 4th. This meeting will drive home the idea of what’s going on with this project, and allow for more people to sign up for the project.

Household Association: I have yet to associate household leader names with actual houses, and that’s going to be a problem I feel. I am going to walk the entire distribution line, asking the folks at each house to tell me the name of the household leader. Moreover, I am going to ask them if they agree to pay the 200 Cord initial cost and the 30 cord/month cost, since there is some grumbling. We have to stay firm with these costs from this point forward, and anything less than 30 cords/month will not be approved by me, but certainly if FCP wants to veto this amount you can! I just know that asking less than that amount will not allow for funding of a maintenance worker, upkeep parts, and complete project overhaul in 20yrs.

Permissions: We will be getting the permissions of the other 3 land owners next week after the contract is written up. These land owner have already given me approval but just to be sure we’re getting this in writing.

Assembling the Troops: I will be meeting with Jaime the predicted project foreman to see his prices for doing work, and what the prices he feels will be for skilled labor. I predict that his price will be around $300/mo (what the alcaldia pays him). I will also run through everything with Lindsey and make sure she’s on board with what her job will be working as a supervisor for us while we wait for the new FCP rep.

Database: I am working to make sure a project database on the internet is set up in Drop Box. We have to be more organized in the future, we need all calculations to be available to board and FCP rep folks, to minimize current and future project confusion. This will be set up this week. I will populate this database with all of the calcs, design guides and regulations I used, lab data, permissions, and a complete project contact list.


Jess and Jeff

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