Our chapter’s international trips revolve mostly around water relief efforts in South America and Africa. These trips are done over winter and summer break and require lots of planning ahead of time. The materials must be brought or found in those countries, and transported to the remote community.
During the summer, we have a group of about 10 travel to the communities of Azacilo and Colani. In Colani, the first agricultural water pipeline project was recently completed, so in 2018 we began the construction of latrines. The latrine project in Azacilo has been in effect for much longer so every family currently has their own, and reached full completion in 2018. In 2016, we started the implementation of solar showers and are continuing this project for future years.
During winter break, our team travels to Kaliro, Uganda. The goal of this project is to design and implement a 5000-liter rainwater catchment system at the National Teacher’s College in Kaliro. This involved updating the infrastructure of the current building as well as adding a pipeline gutter system to the water storage tank.
Our chapter’s domestic trips are for smaller, more hands-on projects either locally or within a day’s drive of Lawrence. We typically partner with one or more community or national service organizations, including other EWB chapters, and have about 10 of our members travel together. The cost-per-person for these projects is far lower than for the international ones, and is usually no more than a few hundred dollars at the most.
Council Bluffs, MO
2020’s Fall Break trip was to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in partner with Habitat for Humanity to help with the reconfiguration of their Restore building. We aided in the reorganizing of the store for the purposes of an inventory check and to set up for a refurbishing class they were offering to the community. The trip cost for each participant is approximately $200, which includes travel, lodging, registration, and food. Our Fall break trips have changed locations every year but we tend to stay in the Midwest.
New Orleans, LA
EWB-KU’s largest domestic project is its Spring Break trip to the lower 9th ward of New Orleans, Louisiana. We partner with the Historic Green organization to conduct weatherization and restoration projects in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Some projects include window restoration, re-siding a wall of a community center, and constructing a fence for a local garden. The trip cost for each participant is approximately $350, which includes travel, lodging, registration, and food. We have been spending our Spring Break with Historic Green since 2013.
Each one of us can make a difference. Together we can make a change. — Barbara Mikulski