May 9 - May 16

posted May 16, 2012, 6:23 AM by greg ewing   [ updated May 26, 2012, 6:20 PM by Ethan Shirley ]

The biosand water filter team spent the past week in the Pantanal at PCER building, preparing, and planning for our pending trips to other rural schools in the area.  The Pantanal was beautiful, wild, and unpredictable. Driving down the Transpantaneira from Pocone to the Pantanal we saw lots of birds and animals including; crab eating foxes, a jaguarondi, toucans, caiman, a family of capybara, rhea, tuiuiu and lots of other birds.

We’ve come to the Pantanal with the mission of providing access to clean water. Our first surprise was the orange murky water coming from the taps at PCER and the lodge. Other group members who have been in previous years said it was the worst it has been in several years.  Variable surface water conditions such as found in the Pantanal pose a challenge to consistently providing clean water. We reinstalled the biosand filter from last year, made and labeled two molds for the school visits, poured a new filter at the lodge, and looked at putting in other measures to decrease the turdbity and suspended solids in the water before being run through the filter. When we return in a week we will finish installing the new filter and follow up on our water tests.

Rain came in on Sunday; we tried to leave but the roads were too muddy and after the Kombi got stuck 100 meters into our 110 kilometer car ride we pushed the car back and had to wait out the rain.  This deviation from schedule allowed us to futher prepare and plan for our school visits, and get to experience some of the Pantanal first hand.  The following day we found army ants surrounding and invading the school and house we were staying in. Highways of a constant flow of ants around the windows, across the floor, climbing the walls, and spiraling up the columns engulfing and devouring everything in there way - including [conveniently for us] the multiple wasp nests in the school.

Yesterday the road dried enough to leave and we arrived in Pocone last night. Today we begin the next part of our adventure as we head to Nazaré school!

Ethan Shirley,
May 16, 2012, 6:37 AM