Working hard against the odds
The entire team is working hard and making steady progress. Unfortunately, we have met some major delays with equipment, mainly the filter press, which have put us a bit behind schedule. We're working diligently to try to complete what's needed before our time here is over. We've been doing many of the "little" jobs that need completing before we can move ahead with filter production. Yesterday (Saturday), all the steel finally arrived and so today (Sunday), we worked a half day to cut and weld up the door and roof of the kiln. The temperatures have been warm for us and the consistently high humidity is often exhausting.
We've also dry mixed 18 different combinations of clay and burn out material in the hopes of finding a mix that will work for the filters. On a positive note, we have discovered that the clay doesn't need to be fired as high as we originally thought so there will be a savings on the future costs of the project.
On a more personal note, our hosts, Darrel and Shannon Nelson of Clean Water International, have been very generous in wanting to show us more than just the work site. One day, we made a visit to a potter and to her clay source. This clay is proving to be potentially the best for our project as well. We have also made visits to the local Night Market and to the Fruit market.
Another plus has been that the work crew is beginning to open up to us. As we have slogged clay and bricks together, they are talking more and asking questions aboutt where we come from and our lives. They've also talked about their home communities and have been attempting to teach us a few words in their native tongue (which is very different from Tagalog).
We also took advantage of a lull while the clay was drying to visit Bislig, a town about 6 hours north and the site for another potential Water Filter Project. Our host there, Dave and Lea Nadle, showed us around town and we were able to meet the Principal and a few students from the school to which that project hopes to be associated with. As luck would have it, we happen to be in town for the annual celebration of and dance contest in honor of
Senior Santa Nino. It was quite the celebration and the costumes and dances were quite spectacular.