Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back to work

The rains have been somewhat less intense since the middle of February, allowing the Bolivian team to get back to its job of building filters. The municipal government still hasn't come through with supplies to fix the worksite, but the team built a small make-shift site nearby so that they can have a sheltered spot to continue their work if the rains get bad again. The rains left many of the dirt roads around Ascension impassable, preventing the team from accessing appropriate sand for much of February. Finally in late February they were able to purchase a few cycles worth of good sand, and 20 new BioSand filters have been installed so far in March.

In other news, the flood-water around Trinidad has lowered, thankfully, and is no longer filling people's homes in the city. It will likely be several months until farmers will be able to return to their land, since it seems to take a long time for the area to really dry out after a flood. The flooding has drastically cut Bolivia's food production since it affected most of the country's productive agricultural land. This is driving up food prices, and is a major cause of the period of high inflation that the country is currently experiencing. Driven by food shortages, fuel shortages, and general political instability, some analysts have predicted that inflation will surpass 24% by the end of the year. One can only hope that the flood waters stay down and that the federal government is able to reach a reasonable compromise with the opposition so that the country can begin getting back on its feet.