Hit the Ground, Conserve Water

I had a great time in the U.S.; at the end of this post are various photos. But first, let me tell you about my crazy first week back in Bolivia, and something crazy I’m doing this weekend that you can do too!

After my last trip to the U.S., when I returned to Bolivia I wrote in my blog post that I “hit the ground running” in January. I was wrong. This time, I actually did that. On my first day back, I hit the ground. Literally. I slipped in the rain then had to get X-rays on my wrist. I also ran a 10k (organized to promote water conservation), 4 days after arriving to 12,000 ft of elevation.  Fortunately, I made it through without hitting the ground while I was running.


And figuratively, I fulfilled the idiom by traveling 4 times to Konani: 8 bus rides, 2 flat tires, many long, uncomfortable hours… and 20 meters of tubing installed under the new road! This construction was supposed to have happened before I left, then the day after I left, but then some of the work got so postponed that I was already back to oversee it! These delays are usually frustrating but this time worked out in my favor.


The municipality (county) government contributed the use of the backhoe and operator, free of charge, for the excavation.

placing tubes

Installing the casing, or protective outer tube, for the water line that will pass through later.

As for this weekend, I’ll be “fasting” from excessive water use. Last year, during Engineers In Action’s “We Fast So They Can Drink” fundraiser, I fasted and also limited my household water use. I invite you to read about that interesting experience in my blog post “It’s my plumbing’s fault I failed“. This weekend is take two; on Saturday and Sunday I will limit my water use to 75 liters (20 gallons) each day. Will you consider joining me?

  • See if you can use only 20 gal/day; here’s a simple table I made called “Counting Water Use” that makes it easy to keep track. I recommend counting on a normal day, then trying to limit it, for comparison. (If that link doesn’t work, try this one or email me.)
  • Or, you could simply count the number of times you use running water, and come back and post about your experience.
  • This weekend, consider fasting and/or praying for Bolivia, for these projects, and for my ministry.
  • Consider sponsoring me during this “fast” or becoming a monthly supporter.

And with that, here’s what I was up to in the U.S.

IMG_2037Went to a conference about water technologies for developing countries. I learned a lot from the 200+ experts from around the world and gave a presentation on applying “asset-based” development practices to water projects.


There was also a day of hands-on training, where I helped operate a small drill rig and learn a manual well-drilling method.

wedding pic

Was in my friend’s wedding. What a party- congratulations Damian and Annalise Hume!

w gretchen better

Went to Minneapolis and met with many friends and supporters.

apple picking

My sister and brother came home for a weekend and we all went apple picking.


Some of the month I worked more than full time, between fundraising and communicating back to Bolivia. But I did find a couple days to relax.

We Fast So They Can Drink

Every year, supporters of Engineers In Action fast for 36 hours and raise money for EIA’s projects. I’ll be fasting this Friday night through Sunday morning, and I invite any to fast along with me, support this work financially, and/or pray for me and for EIA’s work during that time. 

This week I heard that in Konani, the location of my first project, there are a few people who have to limit their water use to only 10 liters/day. In some initial calculations, the goal of our project will be to supply 70 liters/day per person. “How much do I use?” I wondered. A single toilet flush can be 10 L. In the U.S., the average indoor daily use is 350 L/person (source: USGS), and I may be close to that even while living in Bolivia.

So I was inspired, in addition to fasting from food, to LIMIT my water use to 70 L/day, to raise money that will PROVIDE the people in Konani with 70 L/day. I expect this to be eye-opening in many ways, and will share about the experience afterwards.

Thanks for your support. Please consider (1) sponsoring me in this fast, at $5, $10, or even $1 per hour, (2) fasting along with me in solidarity with people living with extreme hunger and with limited access to basic resources like water, and (3) marking in your calendar to pray for me and with me during these days. For spiritual reasons why I’m fasting and some specific prayer points, please visit the prayer  page.