Archive 2008 - 2019

Engineers Without Borders Continue Work in Honduras

by Dan Saulnier

Dan Saulnier, native of Holliston, has been working for several years with a group of undergraduate engineering students from Northeastern University to get clean water to remote villages in Honduras.

Having formed a local chapter of Engineers Without Borders, they work to bring clean drinking water to rural villages in Honduras and Uganda.  Dan, a civil engineer for Kleinfelder-SEA in Cambridge, serves as a mentor to the student group. 

Last month, the group returned from Phase 2 construction of a water system for the village of El Chaguite in Honduras.  Phase 1 was completed in December 2008, and Phase 2 was originally planned for last summer, but was postponed when a surprise military coup ousted the Honduran President. 

On this trip, the students helped the village to construct a 6,500-gallon water storage tank.  Some materials (bags of cement, steel reinforcing bars, pipes, bricks, sand and gravel) had to be trucked in to the village and carried by hand (or by the occasional horse) up a huge hill to the tank site. 

Rocks for the foundation were hand-quarried by the villagers and carried down a mountain to the tank site, and wood for the concrete formwork was made by felling a tree and slicing it into boards.  Water for mixing the concrete was provided by the pipeline that was constructed during Phase 1 of the project.

With the work in El Chaguite almost complete, the students spent some time visiting other villages to get a sense of where their services are needed next.  They visited  a number of villages, but the real surprise came at sunset on their last day in Honduras.  A man named Jose Ernesto Paz rode up to them on a horse to say that his village of Santa Rosa recently had a water project completed, but that it was “a complete disaster.”  He said that their spring produces plenty of good water, but it doesn’t make it to the village.  He had heard of the Northeastern group’s reputation in the area, and sought them out for help.  Sadly, the team couldn’t reschedule their return plane tickets, but promised Mr. Paz they would visit his village on their next trip to Honduras.

(Hey, Mom, he followed me home. Can I keep him?)

For more information on Engineers Without Borders - Northeaster University, check out its website: