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7/18 - Summer goals revisited

posted Jul 27, 2011, 9:32 AM by Julie Bateman   [ updated Jul 27, 2011, 10:25 AM ]
The beginning of the summer, way back in early May, we listed our goals and now seems like a good time to see how we did over the past three months. Completed goals are bolded, and below is a progress update for each numbered item.

1. Start school
    a. arrange teacher
    b. arrange transport (including the purchase of a VW Kombi minibus)

The school is slated to start in May 2012, and we are in frequent communication with the local Secretary of Education to ensure that the budget and matriculation process is on track. 

The teacher will come from a school in the nearest town Poconé, the Pantanal School is being treated as a satellite classroom. There are 33 other rural schools in the municipality of Poconé so the hiring of the teacher was relatively straightforward.

The transit time between Porto Jofre, where the fishing families live, and the Pantanal School is about 45 minutes and their mode of transportation will be the stylish VW Kombi minibus, known to us as Belazinha or for short Bela. A driver and a cook will be hired from Porto Jofre by the Secretary of Education.

2. Construction
    a. build water tower with integrated filter
    b. build partition in school for medical clinic, lab and loft for researcher quarters

We continued to use water from the other side of the road, the tanks from Eduardo's lodge for our water supply. There is a pipe that runs from the two 2500-L water tanks then under the road and across the field to the school. As you can imagine the pressure required to reach our side demands that these two tanks are relatively full all the time, and occasionally the pressure would not be strong enough to push water out of our faucets. The water tower with integrated filter remains on our task list - and attached to the design of it we have added a most wonderful thing - an outdoor shower.

The partion but not the loft was constructed in what used to be an enormous classroom. The partitions created one normal size classroom (now complete with stenciled alphabet and chalkboards), a teacher's quarters, a lab with two sinks, and a small health clinic with one sink.

3. Engineering Sustainable Systems
    a. build bio-sand water filter and run tests on water for common parasites
    b. build biodigester and integrate with stove, trash incinerator
    c. build recycling collection center and trash incinerator with sterilizing unit

The bio-sand water filter (BSF) was completed successfully by our Water Systems team at the end of May, and we used it as our drinking water for the months of June and July. Either the sandy taste disappeared over the week or we acclimated to it, and the water was certainly less green than the swamp coming out of the tap. The BSF is now being used by the lodge's staff as they live just a stone throw away from school.

A biodigester was built and produced gas! Next summer's work on this project will be optimizing the process and designing a system to collect bio-gas for the stove.

The recycling collection center and the trash incinerator is tied in with the water tower. We might have to extend its name to the hodge-podge tower - as it now contains in its plan - a tank with an integrated sand filter, an outdoor shower, a recycling collection center, and a trash incinerator.