Don't worry we weren't eaten by jaguars...just out of transportation and communication for a bit.
Onwards, back to 7/10:
We’ve been joined on-site by a pedreiro (master brick-layer, translated best as construction contractor), Joam. Nisha and Joam have been hard at work on the verandah columns, constructed with a special brick not seen in the US – oito furos (eight holes).
Meanwhile, the inner concrete columns have also been on the move. We’ve peeled away our wood planks from the first column, and its standing! It even has delicate markings from the imprint of the wood where the water was sucked out of the concrete. John already has a solution for the next column – pouring cheap vegetable oil down the insides of the planks to seal the wood.
And more exciting site-news, we have been mapping out plumbing! Our facility will have two toilets, and its plumbing will also serve the existing house with one toilet. Our GIEU students poured their sweat into two giant 6-foot deep septic holes that we are currently lining with brick. Tasks left for the septic system include digging a sloped trench over about 50 ft. and laying the pipe. There is currently an old water well about five feet away from the lodge’s diesel generator, and this water will be pumped to flush our toilet bowls. Hope this wasn’t your breakfast read.
We are considering installing an artisan well. The well consists of a 40-mm pipe sunk 20-m into the ground and outfitted with a built-in pump. This technology is widely used in Pocone (the closest city, two and a half hours away), and is increasingly being installed in rural areas of the Pantanal. This pristine water would be used for everything except filling toilet bowls – showers, sinks, and the biosand filter for drinking water. It would first be pumped to our 5000-L gravity-feed water tank (located in between the house and the field station), and then pumped to all its desired locations. It would also feed the architects’ most ingenious design of PCER – an outdoor shower directly underneath the water tank.
At night, we had a spot lighting of a different sort – the lumber search. Our lumberjacks had finished sawing many of our larger beams and with the help of GIEU dragged them to the edge of the forest and the road, and the environmental police had directed us to remove them as promptly as possible. The architects, Ethan, and I had an amusing evening of cramming 6-m hardwood planks into Eduardo’s giant tourist mobile.