We had another successful day at Isla MonteCristo.  We got up this morning and ate another delicious breakfast of fried eggs, beans, rolls, papayas, plantains, and that strong coffee that leads to animated conversation on the drive to the boat. We had to stop at the hardware store – one of my favorite experiences of my first trip to El Salvador. Everything is behind the counter so you have to know what you want instead of browsing the shelves and looking for things that will get the job done.  Today we needed some PVC connections to hook up the well to the jetting pipe as well as lime to make a drilling mud. We ran into a Young Life group at the hardware store that was buying some materials for a house they were building in a nearby community. We drove to the boat launch where Givanny was waiting to take us to MonteCristo.  It was high tide so the trip went quickly.  We were enjoying the herons, egrets, and other birds on the water.  We also saw the quatro oros (four eyes) birds jumping out of the water by the boat. They have two eyes above the water and two eyes below the water so they can swim at the water surface. When we arrived it was much quieter than yesterday as the Young Life groups had spread out to several communities to work on service projects; we saw the group in MonteCristo building a new fence. We loaded up the equipment in the cart being pulled by the motorcycle and then Mike and Dean rode with them out to the cashew orchard.  The community members, led by Fermine (the cashew orchard owner), were setting up for the jetting.  Mike and Dean started assembling the well string as quickly as possible as the jetting crew was ready to start.  Chema, Gina, and I walked the path to the cashew orchard.  Chema took a conductivity reading on the wellpoint we installed yesterday and the water quality looks good.  The jetting method of installing a well involves pumping water into a hollow pipe the length of the planned well (20’ in this case) to drive the pipe into the ground. Once the pipe has been jetted to the desired depth, the actual well pipe with a perforated screen at the end needs to be quickly dropped into the hole as the jetting pipe is removed. Once Mike and Dean finished assembling the well, they held it vertically next to the hole while the jetting took place.  The community members mixed lime with water to make a drilling mud to pump into the hole to hold it open while jetting.  It took only 30 minutes to jet the total 20’ depth and once they quickly pulled out the jetting pipe, Mike dropped the well string into the hole in less than a minute. It was quite impressive and Fermine planned and led the whole process; he clearly knew how to do this. Once the well was installed, they pumped water out of the new well to clear out the drilling mud.  Chema tested the new well and the conductivity was still elevated due to the lime.  We know that we will need to let the well stabilize and pump the new well a few more times before the water quality will be representative of the groundwater. About the time the new well was done, the laboratory representative arrived to take the samples from the cashew orchard well that was installed a year or two ago.  We needed to fill two bags and three large bottles to test for a wide range of parameters including bacteria, pesticides, metals, and total dissolved solids.  We had a small diameter bailer to pull water from the well so it took me an hour to bail enough water to fill all the laboratory containers. Once all the laboratory containers were filled and safely stored in the cooler, we headed back to Givanny’s house for another delicious lunch of chicken, rice, tortillas, and potatoes.  We had cashew juice to drink that was sweet and tasted great because it was definitely hotter today. After we finished eating our lunch, Antonio spoke to us and let us know how much the community appreciates our help. They had a community meeting last night and all agreed they will support this project and are preparing for our return in May.  Givanny then took us back across the river and we said our goodbyes to him and let him know we would be back in just three months. Chema drove us back after we stopped again at the gas station for drinks, snacks, and ice cream. We were back at our Ciudad Romero home by about 3:00 pm so we had time to look around and learn about some of the Mangrove Association projects.  We saw some fish they are raising here and looked at the gardens.  I saw a breadfruit for the first time! We also looked at the solar panels they have that used to run irrigation pumps (until the pumps failed). Gina is evaluating use of a solar powered pump for the new cashew orchard well so she was interested in the solar panels that Mangrove has. It is interesting to learn about the programs that Mangle is pursuing to help the local communities not only with sanitation and water supply, but also with sustainable agriculture. Our supper tonight was delicious as always -  spaghetti with cheese, tortillas, broccoli, watermelon, and fresh squeezed pineapple juice. We are now spending our last evening with Dean who has to go home to Texas tomorrow. We will leave in the morning for Puerto Parada to learn about the elevated water tank they would like us to design for them. Dean will stay behind before he gets a ride to the airport.

 

Becky

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Recent Blog Posts

A summary of the group's last full day in El Salvador until May.
Another successful day at Isla Montecristo!
The happenings on Day 2 of the February trip to El Salvador.
Travel and arrival on the first day of February's El Salvador trip.

Our Next Destination

In 2017, members from our chapter traveled to the Bay of Jiquilisco area in El Salador to work on safe water projects for the Mangrove Association. We plan to return to the area and continue our projects in 2018.