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Clean Water for Nicaragua - Student Series 4

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011

At around 8:30am we met up with Susan Kinne, as planned.  We took the long route to the Solar Center in order for us to see the rest of the community.  Upon arriving at the center, Julian, a volunteer from Canada, was there awaiting our arrival.  We walked to the recently built restaurant at the Solar Center, which has a stove that is powered by biodigester.  We then walked outside to see the where the biodigester was located while Julian explained how it worked.  A biodigester is a system that takes in organic wastes to be digested by bacteria, where the byproducts are methane gas and a nutrient-rich liquid.  The methane gas can be collected and used as fuel to cook with and the liquid can be used as fertilizer.  At this moment, we all had a big interest in implementing this idea into our design.  After seeing only latrines in this community, it was weird to actually see a flush toilet around this area.  I jumped at the opportunity to use this flush toilet and I made my contribution to the biodigester.  After being at the Solar Center for a while, we headed back to the community.  We still had time to before lunch, so we decided to start interviewing the people in the community by asking them questions that would be crucial for our senior design project.  We all felt comfortable having Susan there while we began our interviews because she knows everyone in the community and she was able to introduce us to several families.  All of the families were very kind, welcoming and willing to help us.  It was interesting to hear some of the answers they had to give and see how conscious they were about how much water they use and how sustainable they think their community is.  All of the families we interviewed were very open to the ideas we had for our design for example having double compost latrines at each home as well as a communal flush toilet that will be next to the water pump.  After retrieving a lot of useful information we had lunch at Reina’s house.  After lunch we visited Ocotal, the nearest city to the community we were staying at.  The purpose of our visit was to go to a hardware store to check what kind of materials are available in Nicaragua that we are going to use for this project.  We also went to an internet café so that we could all check our emails and call relatives at home.  The city of Ocotal was a beautiful place and it reminded me a lot of typical cities that you see in Mexico, so everything looked pretty familiar to me.  After we were all done with what we needed to do, we headed back to the community to have dinner with the families that hosting us and get some rest for the upcoming day.

Tags: education, Roelandts


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