I recently returned from Nicaragua and still there are hardly words to describe the experience. It was truly an amazing time. The people that we met there, that opened up there hearts and their homes to us are unforgettable and for that we owe them a great service. With hard work over the next few months, hopefully we can do it right.
The pretense for heading off to central america was unlike anything I had done before. A volunteer trip through the Portland State University “Engineers Without Borders” chapter. I have been involved with the group for the past year and have been really impressed with the projects they have and the dedication of the core team.
When I left guiding for engineering school, the goal was to give back to the communities in a more productive way, beyond just tourism dollars. I found a good match for that desire with the EWB group. As a water engineer I took on a stormwater project in the western Nicaraguan city of Jinotepe.
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A district of the city called Dulce Nombre suffered from seasonal flooding which inundated the local school there with nearly 2ft of standing water during the october/november rainy season. After doing moderate pre-trip work and assembling as much information as possible we spent two weeks traveling about nicaragua, and one week focused on the school flooding project.
This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Talking with people in spanish about their stormwater problems and working with them to generate positive feasible solutions. It confirmed everything I had hoped engineering would be and I am truly grateful for the experience.