Friday, May 29, 2009

Obrajes update

We arrived in Obrajes 5 days ago, and it has been a great experience so far. Our four room house is quite a contrast from the city, but we have all settled in just fine. We all take turns doing dishes, cooking, and cleaning, and it´s been great fun. In our free time we´ve been playing sports with the children, taking long walks in the valley, and enjoying the local hot springs.

We have spent much of the week surveying various river crossings and talking to the local government about bridge design. After discussions with the local authorities, it has become clear that a hardened roadway supported by culverts, rather than a full bridge, is much more constructable given our funds and time on the ground. In addition, the prefecture and the municipal governments both liked the idea. We will present final designs to them next week after Dwayne Lee, a professional engineer from the States, arrives in Bolivia this weekend. The local goverment has also indicated that they would help us out with labor and machinary.

Members of the group have also been invited to speak to students at a local engineering college. This is an excellent oppurtunity for this project´s sustainability. We are hoping local students will perhaps want to continue our work in the Iruma river valley to make new crossings for locals.

I will definetly keep everybody updated regarding the state of our project. Stay Tuned!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Arrival in Oruro

A photo from the hill that overlooks Oruro.

A monument to the miners of Oruro.

After a three hour trip, we made it to the mining city of Oruro. Our engineering site is only a half hour away. We are spending a few nights in this old mining city as we prepare for our move to Obrajes.

Today we met with the prefecture´s engineering department, and they seemed to like our design very much. We will have further meetings with them to negotiate the potential use of heavy machinary. We are also going to work with the local community in Obrajes so that they will assume ownership of the bridge after we depart.

The rest of the day was spent walking around Oruro and getting a feel for the city. We went to the local market to see what furniture and foods would be available for our house. The variety was just amazing. There were loads of different vendors selling tons of different local foods. Needless to say, we definetly won´t starve. We also spent some time at the mining museum, which exhibits the mining traditions of the past.

We will be moving into Obrajes next week. We are all very excited to finally break ground for this bridge.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


We all arrived in La Paz yesterday. Most of the group (with the exception of Ben and I) arrived early in the morning from Miami. Ben and I arrived in the afternoon. After some long naps and acclimating to the altitude, we all went for a nice walk around the city.

Today we met with representatives from Engineers in Action (EIA). They are helping us purchase engineering materials for our project. They have also been a great source for engineering related feedback.

We will be taking the three hour trip to Oruro Thursday morning. In the mean time, we will spend our stay in La Paz becoming acclimated to the new enviroment and working on our designs. We will be sure to keep you updated when with all the new events in our project.

Russell G.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just created a blog

Hey guys!

I am so excited to leave for Bolivia in one week. I know our team is going to do a great job. We will keep everyone updated every step of the way, so
keep an eye on this blog.

Here is a picture of the people travelling this year:
(2nd row: Devin, Nick, Ben, Me, Phil, Maria, Andrew 1st row: Magdelena, Laila, Trish, and Patrick)

Wish us luck!