Recent Reads

A Finish Line

A week has passed since I got safely home, and of course much has happened. My last day in Peru was incredible, with a visit to Macchu Picchu and with the news that the water system was successfully completed and turned on, but returning home ended up to be surprisingly challenging. Leaving Cusco, we nearly […]

Quick Travels

If you have not experienced it, it is hard to explain the simple joy of taking a warm shower after four days of hiking, plumbing, and concrete work. Even the slight electric shock provided by the exposed wiring doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm for getting clean and warm. 

Friday most of the team stayed at ADRA, […]


Thursday started with very little remaining work: tightening a tapstand, checking and fixing leaks, and connecting the collection box to the springs. Without a hardware store nearby, these things turned out to be able easier said than done.

We have had a lot of problems with the 1/2″ galvanized pipe we used at each tapstand, […]


Wednesday and Thursday were a blur, as we plan to complete and turn on the water system unofficially on Friday, with a community ceremony on Monday to officially turn on the taps. Our system is pretty basic, but the challenges of site accessibility, altitude, and communication (say, between someone testing a tap and someone at […]

20,000 steps

Monday happened. It was my first hike up to the project site, and it was way more challenging than I expected. The hike starts out steep, gains 1,000 feet in less than a mile, then wraps around a couple ridges before entering the Panteneque valley, which has about 500 vertical feet between the lowest house […]

The Elusive Sibinacocha

We started out the morning on Sunday with the goal of dropping off our stuff at Japura (our base camp for the week) and then visiting a nearby lake named Sibinacocha. Sitting at 16,200 feet and just below a series of 20,000 foot peaks, it is significantly off the beaten path and well worth the […]


I got the full download tonight from Jim, the other professional mentor on the trip, who has built many water systems around the world and has gotten this system off to a great start. My de-oxygenated brain is now full of catchment walls, galvanized-to-HDPE fittings, springbox design, concrete forming techniques, and a long list of […]


After a little more than 24 hrs at altitude, I’m starting to feel the edginess wear off, as somehow my body is adapting to using air with 67% of the oxygen that it is accustomed to. It also helps to be eating the seriously good food prepared by our hosts: hot tea, beans, rice, potatoes, […]


First adventure today was heading down to church, which had probably 80 people, some in traditional colorful clothing, and others in Columbia vests and similar. A lot of songs were sung, some of which I knew, and a lot of Spanish was spoken, very little of which I could translate for myself on the fly. […]


Landing in Cusco is an amazing experience for at least two reasons: the approach, and the altitude shock. The approach brings you low (maybe 500 feet) above numerous ridges, and after floating over the final ridge the plane banks hard to the left, goes full flaps, and drops to the runway. I’m not sure a […]