After a fortuitous meeting here in Chicago with the Peruvian consul and the former Minister of Construction and Sanitation, the project is moving along very well. The Consul and the Minister helped with the paperwork, and engineers in Peru are putting the finishing touches on the well’s design.
We will transport all of the construction materials and machinery to the village in mid-June. Immediately thereafter, we will begin digging the well. This first phase of the project will last through the first week of July. After that, we will need to pause construction until the end of the summer, when we will begin the second and final phase of the project.
The reason why we need to build the well in two phases has to do with the height of the river – the highway in this part of the jungle – upon which the village is located. Many people are surprised to learn that it doesn’t rain at all in much of the Western Amazonian rainforest during the (northern) summer months. In fact, the climate is so dry from mid-July until early August that some of the smaller Amazonian tributaries dry up entirely in places. In past years, I have had to drag my canoe with rope over sections of dry river bed during the dry season. The only other way to enter or leave the village is to trek 150km through dense jungle, and dear as my Amawaka friends are to me, I’m not doing that carrying bags of concrete.
The next blog post will be in early June, just before we begin phase one of the project. Til then!