Cusuimi is a community way down south by the Peruvian border and is our first jungle project that is accessible by road and canoe. Despite the grueling 10 hours drive on dirt tracks from Shell and a 3 hour canoe ride each way, the benefit of not needing an airplane has been felt as there was no aviation gas for 6 weeks and we were unable to enter our other projects.
As I (Alex) have had to reduce my travelling because of the pregnancy, Alfredo has been travelling with a variety of different people. Bruce Rydbeck (Director of water projects), Richard Blair (accounting director) and his brother Dan, Tannia Lascano (hygiene coordinator in water projects) and Tai Gilbert (public health student working in the WP office) and Alfredo’s youngest brother Eduardo have all helped with the Cusuimi project.
On the 5 trips to Cusuimi, we helped the community protect a spring, build a collector tank, install two solar panels and a solar water pump, construct a 6m high wooden water tower with 4 plastic tanks to provide storage, lay over 1.5km of distribution pipe, install 27 house connections and build 27 latrines.
The teaching that accompanies the projects is as important as the ‘hard ware’ installed. Alfredo uses his meal times to talk with community members about various religious and development issues and we have taught classes on hygiene and system maintenance and good water use, held bible studies and encouraged the few Christian in the community. Richard even took in some of the solar-powered pre-tuned radios so they can now pick up the HCJB radio!