The Grand Project

The Project

We soon realized that the work that we were doing there was not so crucial. We were probably accomplishing more in the field of mutual understanding than we were in physical work. Anyway, most of our work time was spent burying a water house that supplied the drinking water to the village. Until only a few years ago, the villagers would carry the water up from the creek below in the valley. This work proved taxing, so recently a water hose was installed to carry water from a fresh spring about five kilometers away. The people of the village had installed this hose, but had not yet had time to bury it. If it were left on top of the dirt, the hose would only last twenty years. However, if it is buried, it should last fifty years.


Each day we would get up at about six to go out to work. As was mentioned, two members of the group would hold down the house each day while the others went out to work. A few of the villagers would come out and work with us each day as well. Basically we would use picks to dig a trench about one foot deep. We would place the hose inside and then cover it up. The terrain was often hilly and rocky, so a lot of the work moved pretty slowly. Temperatures usually reached 35 to 40 by midday, so it was also very hot. Working in a group helped to make it fun, but we were usually tired by noon or so.

Water Reserve Tank

About the fifth week into things we started a second project which also went unfinished. You see, the water line connected to the fresh spring could run low during dry times, so the townspeople wanted to make a pila, or reservoir to collect a small reserve. Many houses, like our own, have small pilas to collect extra water. However, we were trying to build a larger pila to serve as a reserve for the whole town. We managed to build a pretty good hole to get started, but the people still needed to build up the rock walls to make the entire tank. We never saw the project completed, but like always, the townspeople were actually more capable to complete the work than we were.

After Work

In retrospect, I realize that it was more important what we did outside of work. In reality, sometimes we really only worked till about noon or one o'clock some days. By then it was approaching 40C and we were plenty tired and dirty from digging in the dirt. We would call for a siesta and make our way back to the house. In the evening we spent time talking to different people who would find an excuse to wander over. Everyone was pretty curious about our little house and the work that we were attempting to do. In all honesty, it was the Mexicans who did the work. But our effort meant something at least.

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