In a reversed fashion of sorts, I'm writing this beginning last as I found myself ready to publish this update, I realized I hadn't explained my choice of proverb for this update. Today's saying is one heard often in Haiti (particularly this week.) It's employed often in cases including introduction to a new environment, when things don't go to plan, and slow but steady integration into new norms. The wisdom to be understood being that everything is a process, like a bird building its nest. Good and worthwhile things take time and yield fruit in their time (the case in the proverb of a new home for the titular bird.) With that finished, let's dive into our update...'s introduction!
It is with elation I find myself again writing from the Project Managment office in Cangé. Just over two months ago you might recall Hurricane Irma making its way through the Carribean. Hispaniola in the projected path of the storm, the decision was made that I was to be evacuated from the Haiti if at all possible. It was, and I found myself aboard one of the final flights out of Toussaint L'Ouverture airport bound for New York. What I was sure would be a brief stay to simply ensure I would not be in danger while abroad, indeed became a nearly two-month-long wait before I was able to return to Haiti and work in the Central Plateau. It's been nearly two weeks and the welcome I've received has been one of the warmest in my life. "Mwen kontan pou mache avek enjenyè yo Clemson anko" commented Djapanou, one of the guys we work with on the water team, meaning that he was happy that we'd finally returned and to be feeling similarly about working together once more. Further, I've had the opportunity along with the rest of the community to welcome Ashley as my new partner and our newest intern, Ashley. Ashley is actually Clemson alumna having earned her B.S. earlier this year in Civil Engineering with a minor in Environmental Engineering; her time in Haiti as part of her graduate studies in which she is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering. With my tenure in Haiti still set to terminate next month, I have just a few weeks to show Ashley many of the things she will need to know as an intern, in addition to tutoring her in Kreyòl so as to be effective and ready for the remainder of her internship extending into next year and to teach her own new partner in January. That said, we have had a very busy two weeks and expect to have an equally busy three more to follow, let us begin with the retelling:
The focus of Ashley's graduate research is one of the steps taken in treating Cangé's water supply, chlorination. In preparation for this, the design for a replacement of the then current chlorinator began early this summer. We carried the constituent pieces of the new chlorinator with us and arriving in Cangé late at night on Saturday (04/11/2017,) we set about work the following day after church. Assembly and installation of the chlorinator could not have gone better, and in the week to follow we set about testing the chlorine levels of treated water at the filter building and each fountain every day. There are, however, always hiccups in life. In this case, manifesting in unfortunate occurrences. Passing a whole week back in Cangé and five days with the new chlorinator, we arrived at the filter building Saturday morning to learn that in the night a loud sound had been heard by security emanate from the filter building; the sound heard turned out to be the cap of the chamber where water passed through chlorine tablets for treatment blowing from its seating and striking the opposite wall.. Ubiquitously, unfortunate things happen, and in preparation for unforeseen circumstances, the chlorinator was designed with a redundant treatment chamber which we employed handily while arranging for a replacement cap. There are also times, for reasons we often don't understand, where a seemingly preternatural contrivance takes place only to stymy one's efforts. You may now be thinking to yourself "what a rather cryptic thing to say," and you would be correct, it is not however without significance. You see, I gave voice to this latter thought due to my ignorance of another way to describe what happened next. Just two days later, early on Monday (13/11/2017) morning, another loud sound which was (as you may have guessed by my borderline labored preamble) the cap of the chlorinator's redundant treatment chamber also blowing from its seating and striking the wall. Saturday morning, we had a problem. Now, we have a big problem. There may have been just a bit of internal freaking out at this juncture, without caps for the chambers, how will we treat the water? Fortuitously, we'd earlier that weekend received the balance of an order which afforded us fresh filters for installation at the filter building. This information in the back of our minds was a positive point of our current situation of course, but we still needed to devise a mode by which we could continue chlorinate the water passed through the filters without a chlorinator. After conferring with David and planning the better part of the afternoon, we had our solution and as the sun set over Cangé (occurring around 17:00 or 5:00 PM now) we set about its implementation. With our chlorinator out of commission at the moment, we needed to route the water around it. The design to reintroduce chlorine to the system was simple; we had available lines in the system from when we used to use UV Rays to treat water which we had ceased due to its unsustainability. With the assistance of the team, we added a new connection in the pipe with a ball valve in the middle to serve as our "door" into the pipe, the means by which we would add the chlorine tablets into the pipe. The flow on either side of our emergency design (dubbed tongue-in-cheek as the "nouvo nouvo machin klowoks" or "new new chlorinator") manageable by the presence of ball valves, the outflow now serving the dual purpose of preventing the passing of whole pieces of chlorine tablets through the subsequent piping. We now had purchased for ourselves time, and I'm happy to say that just today we worked out the details of receiving replacement caps for this time next week.
Ashley and I have joked the last few days when asked that discounting the volatile nature adopted by the subject of her research, transition into life in Haiti has been very smooth! We've begun familiarization with the regular operations of the water system such as cleaning filters and testing water at the filter building, maintenance of the dam and pumps at Bas Cangé, beginning to understand and speak in a new language, and of course, (delicious) Haitian Cuisine. Before I return home, there are still some objectives to complete and ventures to other villages to be had; the details of which I plan to share with all of you. Bearing that in mind, check back often as I'll be undertaking the (arguably ambitious, given my record) of weekly updates for the remainder of my time as project management intern. Just before we sign off here, it's time for the best part: pictures.
|Completed installation! The design, as I mentioned earlier, is very simple with ball valves on either side managing flow and the upright valve allowing a point of access for the addition of chlorine tablets.|