The state of Nariño is famous for its coffee and it was in this coffee growing environment where CAPD recently co-sponsored a filter construction workshop. The Fundacion Suyusama, co-sponsor, has been working for decades in rural areas near Pasto, to improve the lives and productivity of rural folk, through efficient wood stoves, drip irrigation, water system infrastructure, improved seeds, agricultural extension in all its facets, etc.
Ivan Castro, our partner in FRPG, worked for Suyusame earlier on in his career and he was responsible for brining us together. Previously a couple of Suyusama people attended the construction workshop in Pasto (previous blog) and it was good to have them involved again. Bob did not appreciate the significant logistics challenges of having a filter construction workshop out in the countryside but Ivan and his friends in Suyusame made it happen.
In the photo below, you will see a “chiva” which carries cargo and passengers on a daily route. Without this service it would be very difficult to bring in supplies or send the harvest to markets. The chivas all have loud air horns and you can hear them coming from a distance starting at 6 am, so you can get to the road to flag them down. They are reliable but not comfortable nor fast.
This is the rainy season in Colombia and it had an impact on the training. We fortunately found a partially finished house, and mixed concrete and filled the molds inside the house and on the porch. Next morning the house was being used by a group of women preparing a lunch for a meeting in the adjacent church hall. Our group rose to the occasion and moved the three 350-pound concrete and steel molds to a less crowded workspace by suspending it from a bamboo pole (see photo). Do not be fooled by the sun in the photos. Bob continually wished for rubber boots to complement his rain jacket but sadly had to put up with wet feet for 2 days.
The group learned some theory, constructed 3 filter boxes as part of the workshop and learned how to install the filter media. Bob was mighty impressed with the group of 14 men and women. Everyone jumped into action as soon as the word was given. Without this proactive attitude the workshop would have been impossible. These men and women now know what is possible when considering improvement of water in the homes near where they play roles as servant leaders.
Strangely enough, Bob did not get a coffee until he asked for it.