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May 25 - June 3

posted Jun 3, 2012, 10:20 PM by Ethan Shirley   [ updated Jun 3, 2012, 11:00 PM ]
As the time in Brazil for the water systems team comes to a close, we left just enough time to visit friends in Nobres for the second consecutive year as a final, two-day, relaxing time swimming in the crystalline spring water of the Brazilian cerrado. In the end, the water systems team visited two boarding schools and taught one group of boys and one group of girls about the dangers of unfiltered water, the conservation of water, and how to construct and maintain a bio-sand water filter. In total, the team constructed and refurbished a total of six filters, four of which were built largely by the kids of Nazaré (the boys' boarding school) and Cotia (the girls' boarding school). Sadly, we did not get to work at IFMT, a federal institute of higher learning dedicated to legitimizing rural professions. However, we have firmly established an official partnership with IFMT and plan to begin a more advanced adult education class about the filters next year.

Further down the road in the Pantanal, materials finally arrived at the water tower site, and construction resumed. The water tower team elected to ride on the truck delivering the materials to make sure that it actually went--and, as is frequently the story with vehicles driving down the Transpantaneira, it broke down and was stopped for six hours. The truck returned the following day carrying a second load of materials and got stuck in the mud near the build site, which caused the truck's crew to stay with the team at the PCER site for a night.

In PCER, the solar water pump system has been tested and is working. The internet system is proving to be more difficult than expected to get working on site, which, after numerous tests closer to the city, seems to be having problems with the altitude of its antenna. Now that the water systems team's school outreach project has finished, water systems team leader Cory and myself will be going down to PCER tomorrow to begin the construction of the larger water filtration system there and to get finish the water tower and get the internet working. Solar batteries and other electrical components of the systems have been purchased and are on-site, ready for install. Hopefully, if everything goes right, the tower structure will be finished by the 10th of June, giving team members who will be staying longer time to fully install the water filtration system before taking off.

In random news, our project is currently featured on the Umich main homepage and the LS&A homepage.

Thanks to the water systems team for the wonderful work that they did in Poconé, and we hope to see them again down here next year!
-Ethan
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