The Montana Tech chapter of Engineers Without Borders took their first journey to El Salvador this past July. This will be a five-year project for EWB in El Salvador. The goal is to stop the downstream erosion due to the torrential rainy season that is ruining the existing road, which is a main road for transportation connecting three separate communities. Our plan is to straighten this road and replace the existing culvert system. This first trip was strictly an assessment and data collection trip in which we were there for a total of eleven days. We met with the local mayor and community members to discuss the problem with the road. Thankfully we had Local Peace Corp volunteers to translate Spanish for us as well as serving as our tour guides and helpers.
We were able to survey the site with the help from numerous community members. Hattie Torgerson led the team with soil sampling, while Butch Gerbrhandt and Brad Miller surveyed and came up with the plans of action to fix the problem. I, Frankie Schwartz was the documentarian and photographer for the trip. I plan on producing a short film of EWB’s first trip to El Salvador by the end of this year. This was a great opportunity for me and can be for anyone interested in EWB. It’s a club and non-profit organization that can suit any desired degree field at Montana Tech. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. We learned a new language Spanish; eat Salvadorian fruits and numerous other foods. We were able to attend a food festival as well as some tourist destinations. We got to swim at the waterfalls in Juaya and hit the beach and surf and boogie board on the coast, which was called El Tunco. Our assessment took place in the city of Ahuachapan.
The reason I joined EWB was to get the opportunity to help people in need. I had heard of EWB through one of the members and he told me of what EWB does. I became a member the moment I heard that they were a club that travels the world to aid and assist people that are less fortunate. They were looking for a communications major in particular to be the documentarian of their assessment trip. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get some hands on experience with degree related work as well as the satisfaction of helping others in need.
We are trying to get students interested in EWB because it is something for a better cause. Tech is known for its engineering reputation and why not have students within these engineering programs get hands on experience helping those in need. We are helping ourselves as well as others, plus you get the opportunity to travel abroad, learn new languages and cultures.