In August of last year, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to the small community of Quesimpuco, Bolivia with Engineers Without Borders for the first time. I spent that week working alongside the community on the irrigation system we planned for all year. Although the week was full of its ups and downs, several plan changes, long strenuous hikes, and even harder work days, I wouldn't trade it for anything. At the end of the week when everything was said and done, I stood on the top of the mountain beside SIFAT coordinator and community leader Ivan Roman while we turned on the irrigation system we worked so hard on. I was elated to see that our system worked, but it didn't dawn on me what we did until I saw Ivan crying. He saw the work we did, a series of pipelines and sprinklers, and realized the impact it would have on this community; that for this first time this community would have a sense of food security. That was the first time I realized I was making a global impact for Christ.
This year, I have been blessed with the opportunity to return to Bolivia. However, this time I will be shifting my focus to community health and hygiene. Examining the community and talking to coordinators at SIFAT, we discovered community hygiene as being a major issue in this community. We realized that the only way they clean their clothes is by washing it in the river and drying them on rocks. Because it is only convenient to do this when the weather is just right, it rarely gets done. That is why my team this year has been working hard on creating an easily replicable washer and dryer system for the community. Our designs are simple, primarily using buckets and PVC pipes, and our goal is to get one in every household in the community. This summer we will be testing a few of our designs to see what works best with the community and teaching them how to use and build their own washers. Along with the washer and dryer systems, we will teach them the importance of hygiene and what they can do to live a healthier lifestyle. But I need your help!
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