Day 8-March 9th, 2013

Hello all,

I would first like to apologize for the blogs not containing photos. The photo upload was working perfectly the first couple days then it suddenly stopped. I was still able to update the text but I had to update l the last two days today while waiting in the airport. I plan on going back and uploading photos from each day so that you all can have a better understanding of what exactly I am talking about in my posts. With that said we woke up early today (4:00 am) and departed Santa Maria for Queretaro. Once we arrived in Queretaro we flew to Houston where we had a 3 hour layover. Once we left Houston we were informed that the weather in Denver was not very good. There had been several connections out of Denver canceled. Fortunately our flight to Denver was fairly smooth and we are now currently halfway through our 4 hour layover in Denver. Our flight leaves for Helena at 7 pm. As of now it has not been canceled so we will keep our fingers crossed. Again it has been my pleasure updating you on our progress. We all appreciate the support back home. The experience we all obtained this week is hard to explain in words. We were thanked time and time again by Father Mike (head of the orphanage) and informed that not only is our work bettering lives but it is also saving lives. While this is my fourth trip and others it’s there first I truly believe this week has been life-changing. I speak for all of us when I say Santa Maria has had a profound effect on my college and life experience. We all look forward to the challenges and opportunities presented to us in the future regarding Santa Maria. In a few hours we will all be home safely and already preparing for our Shamrock Soiree this Friday March 15th. For those who are going I look forward to seeing you there. Thank you all for following my blog. God bless.



Day 7-March 8th, 2013

Hello all,

After discovering that the additional mainline had not been finished by the representatives from Aquasem it was determined that our last day at the orphanage was going to be a busy one. There was a lot of testing to be done as well as additional installation. The first testing began in field 1. There were several problems that came up throughout the day that severely tested our endurance and composure. On top of that the representatives had taken the punch for the drip irrigation and therefore we could not install drip irrigation in field 5. The day was slow at certain points and frustrating at others. I spent a good portion drawing the as-built for field 1. The as-built is simply a rough drawing of the field installation after it is finished. We had yet another long day of work before heading into town for the last team meal of the trip. We returned home, packed and went to bed aware of an early morning call at 4:00 am. Tomorrow is our travel day so I will update you all on how that goes. Take care and God bless.



-This is a picture of the drip irrigation in field 2.


-Here is a picture of Kevin conversing with some of the workers from Santa Maria.









Day 6-March 7th, 2013

Hello all,

Today began like any other day. We ate breakfast before heading out to field 2 to begin the installation of the drip irrigation. We met the same two representatives from Aquasem at field 2. They assisted us in setting up the drip irrigation which included how to insert the laterals into the mainline. We quickly got the hang of this after a few installations. During the drip irrigation installation Kent and I wandered the various fields putting finishing touches on the valves. We were then put at a stand-still when we ran out of drip irrigation line. One of the representatives was suppose to return with the required supplies. However, when we left as a group for our scheduled tourist day he had still not returned. The hope was that the two representatives would install the additional mainline required for the sprinkler irrigation in field 1. We just returned back to Santa Maria a half hour ago (currently 11:08) and unfortunately learned that this task had not been completed. Therefore we have a busy day in store for us tomorrow. We need to install the additional mainline in field 1, finish the drip irrigation in field 2 and begin the drip irrigation in field 5. The likelihood of the drip irrigation in field 5 being completed is dependant on whether or not the representatives from Aquasem return with the hole-punch. The punch is required to put holes into the mainline for the laterals to feed off of. I will make sure to update you on how all the work goes tomorrow. It should be a very interesting and busy day. Take care and God bless.



-This is a picture of Sam and I working on the drip irrigation line in field 2.


-I told you I would somehow find a way of getting a picture of Kent. This was his attempt at a portrait of us sitting in the back of the pick-up truck.






Day 5-March 6th, 2013

Hello everyone,

Today we continued our work on field 1. We began laying risers for the sprinklers down each of the field laterals. This was a long and tedious process because we were required to line up the risers in multiple directions. However, after a few hours we were moving along very well. We managed to insert all the risers into the fields. We also attached the sprinklers to the risers and punched holes in the lateral pipes. We then connected the sprinklers to the lateral pipes via the holes we punched. Amidst our work, representatives from Aquasem returned to assist us with the sprinkler irrigation as well as drop off and explain the soon-to-be-installed drip irrigation. They also decided to install another mainline for field 1 to assist with the pressure requirements for the higher laterals (further from the road). The plan is to begin installing the drip irrigation in fields 5 and 2 tomorrow. The thought is that the drip irrigation will be an easier install then the sprinkler irrigation. We will have to see tomorrow. After we nearly finished our work for the day, a few girls from the orphanage in Colon made their way out to where we were working. With assistance from Daniela they assisted in attaching the sprinkler heads to the riser pipes. This was an awesome experience for both us and the girls. What was even more impressive is we successfully tested an entire lateral of sprinklers. They appeared to be performing exactly how they had been planned to. Similar to the test Ryan and I performed on the pipeline last October; this was a milestone for the entire project. It signified how all the hard work and determination put into this project had paid off. When our work was finished we returned to the teacher’s quarters and ate lunch in the dining hall at the orphanage. With an early finish to our work we spent the rest of the day relaxing and playing games with the kids. We will work early tomorrow until noon. At noon the plan is to travel to a local tourist town and then into Queretaro for dinner. I hope all of you are doing well. Take care and God bless.



-This is a picture of our group working on the sprinkler irrigation alignment in field 1.


-This is a picture of Daniela and Elizabeth working with some of the orphan girls to attach the sprinklers to the risers.









Day 4-March 5th, 2013

Hello everyone,

Sorry about not including photos in the last post. The internet down here is dicey and for some odd reason I was not able to add images. I will try again on this post. The day began with us attaching the assembled valves to risers located in the various fields. This had its fair share of challenges but for the most part we were able to accomplish this successfully. After assembling the valves we met two representatives from Aquasem (company that sold us the sprinkler and drip irrigation systems). We observed how to assemble the mainline on each field as well as the various laterals for the sprinkler system. After watching the reps we proceeded to begin the installation. This process was slow at first but after no time we were working very well as a team. With help from the reps we installed all the mainline pipe for field 1 as well as well as the laterals for the individual sprinklers to feed off of. We worked a very long day. Just finishing here a half hour or so ago. (currently 7:51 pm). A lot of time was spent on trying to figure out exactly how to install the system properly. However with focus and great teamwork we were all quickly “pros”. There is some confusion on when exactly the representatives will return to assist with the drip system. However, we accomplished a lot today and grew together working as a team. I will contact you all again tomorrow. Like always, thank you for the support. God bless.



-This is a picture of Elizabeth and Daniela working with the two representatives from Aquasem.


-Here is a picture of our group with some of the Santa Maria del Mexicano orphanage supporters.







Day 3-March 4th, 2013

Hello everyone,

Today we actually began work. The work was broken into four separate tasks. These tasks included obtaining dimensions of the pre-existing bridge leading to the convent, assembly of riser heads, exposing some pipe near the fish tanks and figuring out how to properly install the sprinklers. Myself, Chris and Elizabeth were assigned to the bridge, Sam and Cody assembled the riser heads, Seth and Kevin dug exposed the pipe and Ryan and Daniela traveled into San Miguel with Chema (head groundskeeper) to observe the proper installation of the sprinklers. All of these tasks went very well. Obtaining the bridge measurements was a little dicey at times but we were able to come back with a large amount of information. I am currently close to finishing up drawing the bridge with dimensions included using AutoCAD. Chris will then draw the cross-section. The  riser heads were assembled by connecting valves on either side of the tee’s. This task was part of the sprinkler pre-assembly. Seth and Kevin probably had the most physically demanding task of the entire day. They were responsible for uncovering some pipe near the fish tanks to prevent treated water waste. This went well but it still a work in progress. Lastly, Daniela and Ryan observed some very important information to help assist us with upcoming sprinkler installation. We just finished our nightly meeting to discuss what was accomplished today as well as what is planned for tomorrow. We made very good progress today. The work continues tomorrow. I will make sure to update you all on how it ends up going. Like usual, thank you all, take care and God bless.



-Here is the picture of the bridge Chris, Elizabeth and myself obtained dimensions for.


-Here is a picture of Sam and Cody assembling the riser connections.







Day 2-March 3rd, 2013

Hello everyone,

We fortunately got to sleep in a little bit today. By sleeping in I mean we were able to wake up at 8:00 am instead of 7:00 am. We all ate a very good breakfast together (courtesy of Ryan Wall and his master egg-stirring abilities). After eating we made our way over to the shed to look at the parts we had ordered for the sprinkler installation. After observing the parts it was evident that we had no idea how to install the sprinklers we had ordered. It was determined that Ryan and Daniela would travel into San Miguel tomorrow to observe how to properly install the sprinklers and relay the information back to us. After observing the various parts we proceeded to tour the project site. This took a good chunk of the day because we all walked the entire project site. After returning from the tour the next planned item for the day was to attend mass. Father Mike was doing mass in Colon at three different times throughout the day but we decided to go with the first time at 1:00 pm. After attending the packed mass we grabbed some tortas (Mexican style sandwich) at a local restaurant and then had some time to cruise the various shops located near the basilica. After reconvening we walked to the where our ride was scheduled to pick us up. Of course, we grabbed ice cream again (*cough Dr. Scharf cough*) before picking up a few cases of water and heading back to Santa Maria. Once we returned we were all pretty beat. Both from the travel day yesterday and being out in hotter-than-normal weather. However, we all decided to proceed over to the basketball courts where we enjoyed some exciting games of soccer and basketball. After darkness prevented us from continuing we made our way back to the teacher’s quarters where we held our first group meeting. The meeting was to determine who would be assigned to the various tasks on the agenda tomorrow. These tasks including obtaining dimensions of a pre-existing bridge (aqueduct) near the convent, re-configuring some pipe near the fish tanks and assembling some sprinklers parts. I will make sure to update you all on how all these activities go tomorrow. Again, thank you all for the support back home we really appreciate . I hope all is well. Take care and God bless.


Big Ass Bug

-Sam becoming friends with a leaf-like bug we found on the path leading back to Santa Maria.

Basilica Photo

-This is where we attended mass in Colon.

Group Reservoir Photo

-Our group posing for a photo during our project site tour.

*It is important to note that Kent is taking all of these awesome photos. It is our goal to get him in at least one photo before the week is over!

Day 1-March 2nd, 2013

Hello everyone,

I am happy to announce that our entire group has arrived safely to the Santa Maria del Mexicano orphanage. It is currently 10:40 pm here (9:40 in Montana). The day began very early with our first flight leaving Helena at 7:00 am. Our first connection was Denver followed by Houston before we crossed the border heading for Queretaro, Mexico. We were picked up by father Mike and Rolando and grabbed some quick pizza and ice cream (requested by Dr. Scharf) in nearby Colon. We are all beat due to the long day of traveling. The plan is to take a quick tour of the project site tomorrow for those new to our work here in Mexico. We will then have mass in the basilica located in nearby Colon. That is the extent of our plans as of now. Thank you all for the support back home and we look forward to the start of our work. Take care and God bless.


Ice Cream Shop

-This is a photo of us at the ice cream shop after eating pizza.



Hello everyone,

My name is Tanner Grimstad. I am currently a junior civil engineering major at Carroll College and the active president of Engineers Without Borders at Carroll College. I will also be the one maintaining this blog when our group travels down to Mexico this Saturday, March 2nd. The purpose of this blog is track the progress of our work. This blog will include a post at the end of each work day along with a photo. This first post is to assure anyone who follows the link from either the student life page or quick links page on Carroll’s website that you are in fact in the correct place. All of us here at Carroll College in Engineers Without Borders appreciate the support and look forward to the awesome opportunities presented to us in the coming days. Take care and God bless.