July 5, 2016:
Today (Monday July 4th) is the first day of the third week of our project. We had a little speed bump last week when our vacuum pump broke! We had to lose a couple days of sample collection unfortunately, which was quite a bummer. We had looked for different ways to fix our pump, and even went to about 7 different little ferreterías (hardware stores) to try to look for a new one, but most of the store owners had empty spray bottles to offer as the closest thing once we fully described what we were looking for (which was a little difficult at first!). We had called our coordinator, Jessica, and she said that we would have to wait at least a week for a new one to be brought from Xela, but she still had to find one. Knowing that this was necessary to do our water testing procedure, we had to find a solution. However, Aurora and Logan went ahead with the interviews during the days we were unable to do sample collections.
Fortunately…. the pump was fixed! Not by us, but with the help of local plumbers that we met at the hospital who work there. They put a small nail into the part of the plastic that had broken, enabling the pulling mechanism to work again and suction air from the tube! As all five of us (our team and Elcia and Lesvia) asked them if they wanted payment for their time or services, they simply and humbly refused. They were so kind! It was incredible. It was definitely one of the happiest moments of celebration of the trip. Logan went over and hugged one of the plumbers!
Today we woke up at 5:30 am, cleaned our sample containers, hydrated some test plates and went into Xejuyú and split up the sample collection; I went to 7 houses with Lesvia and Aurora and Logan went to 10 houses together with Elcia. When we got back to the lab, we finished hydrating the plates and put the filter samples on the plates and incubated them. This took several hours after lunch and made for a full day of work!