Saturday, July 30, 2016

Training session #1

We ended the week with our first training session for Honduras farmers. When we first started out, we envisioned training "traditional" farmers, or farmers that grow things on the ground. UPi found a few shrimp farmers that use seawater that were interested in learning about desalination, so they were added to the mix. I think the training went fairly well, especially since I don't really speak Spanish, and Clara and I are both getting over a nasty cold.

I do need to say how happy I am to work with wonderful and strong women. This project started with Evelyn Rios, then transitioned to Clara Borrego after Evelyn got a job (I'll put a picture below that we made to show the transition between the two engineers). I am so glad to have gotten to know both of these women.
Evelyn (left) and Clara (right) showing off our equipment in El Paso, Texas. This shows the fun personalities that they both have.
I want to brag a little bit about Clara. She joined our team in March when we found out our Eveylyn Rios had to move for a great job in Dallas. I sat with Clara and told her that it would be grueling and frustrating at times, but that it would be a fun adventure. She accepted the challenge. Both Clara and Evelyn worked together to help me get our system designed, built, and operating. It has truly been my pleasure to work with her. Of course she's talented (she is a UTEP graduate, after all!), but she brings kindness, a willingness to work (very) hard, and a personality that makes everyone happy. She has learned ZDD quickly and since she speaks Spanish, there is no breakdown in communication.
Clara Borrego, explaining the ZDD process in Honduras (picture credit: Victoria Amador)
We held our first training session at UPi's building. Our day of training included a morning session where we discussed water quality, desalination, and our pilot system. The farmers were all from the southern part of Honduras and their products include watermelons, cantaloupe, corn, shrimp, and tilapia. Each of the farmers indicated they use different water sources (rain, fresh well water, seawater) and a few had knowledge of desalination.
This is a fun picture showing the UTEP and UPi women (photo credit: Clara Borrego)
Classroom Training - First Group of Farmers (photo credit: Victoria Amador)
Group Picture with UPi Chancellor Funes, Ing. Luis Eveline, UPi students, and UTEP (photo credit: UPi)
After the classroom portion, we provided certificates and took a group picture, then enjoyed a nice lunch from the UPi cafeteria. After lunch, we made our way to the pilot site and showed the equipment. We started up the system so that everyone could see it in operation and ask questions. It was a hot afternoon, but I think it was a great visit.
Describing how we achieve high recovery using electrodialysis metathesis (photo credit: Victoria Almador)
Clara showing how our enhanced evaporation system will be built
(also - check out how our UTEP logo is framed! GO MINERS!)
And one last thing. Clara thought it would be fun to show how I look when I blog in our apartment. I think it's a funny picture. Yes, I was in my pajamas today. Don't judge me.