Local Restaurants Support EIA

Posted on: November 9, 2012

All day today, Friday, Nov. 9th, 3 Tulsa restaurants will be supporting the FAST by donating $1 for every soft drink sold! Thank you to Andolini’s on Cherry St, Leon’s on Brookside, and Leon’s in Broken Arrow!

Staff Mtg Oct 8 2012

Posted on: October 8, 2012

Key Discussions:

Erquis: Milton has returned from Erquis. All went well for the geo-electric survey last week. Should get report from Codafena on Thursday.

Tacachia: Milton tried to go to Tacachia for a meeting with the Municipal leadership but the community’s car broke down on the way, and our staff is swamped and unable to take them today. The meeting will have to be rescheduled.

Konani: Lauren has the Scope of Work for Konani and is translating it with the help of Marcos. The Advance Team is ready to go on Wednesday. Lauren will also be contacting the driller/geo-electric guy who studied Konani. He is a geologist. Will be talking to him about the water table issues and whether the sub-terranian water is static or dymanic in and around Konani. And start figuring out what studies need to be made or does he already have enough data (He says he has done many wells in this area.) Info to be passed to Rick and the Ponca team.

Yarvacoya: Univ. Memphis is coming on Thursday and headed to Yarvacoya in Bolivar Municipality on Friday. Afnan will be with them. A second group arrives on Saturday and Marcos will take on Sunday. They staying for 10 days which seems way too long to us, but they think they will need it. Afnan, with the help of Marcos, are getting everything prepared for their arrival.

New Bolivar Projects and discussion about how poor is too poor: See blog elsewhere.

Marquirivi: Marcos will be meeting with Arizona and Andrea to look at a redesign of the irrigation project they are doing. They are concerned about the seismagraphic activity in the area and need to take that into consideration. He has meeting with them today. P

Pampoyo: VMI, the Miraflores Rotary Club and Afnan worked for several months to prepare documents for Rotary International to fund the second and third projects of VMI in Pampoyo: Latrines and a Women’s Center, for $28,000. There were problems at R.I. and they lost the paperwork. So Afnan will have to spend some time helping to re-create and re-send the application.


Milton and Afnan FINALLY have their health card and are covered with health insurance.

Hope to get our Tax Exemption letter signed by the government this week.

Will check with the Ministry of Labor about our labor contracts. They had some concerns.

Froilan plans on having Septembers financials ready at the end of this week.

How poor is too poor?

Posted on: October 8, 2012

At staff meeting this morning we had a discussion about how poor is too poor?

Normally, EIA and EWB works with very poor folks. Most of the Municipalities we work in, 85% of the folks make less than $2/day ($700yr). And as poor as that sounds, it is still enough for the folks to pay a little to run the water systems we bring in. ($5-10/mo). This money is used to pay for the electricity to run the pumps, to do repairs, to collect to replace the submersible pump, buy pipe, etc.

However, with our renewed commitment to work in the poorest of the poor Municipalities in Bolivia, we are finding communities that can’t even afford this small amount for operating a system. Afnan shared that some of the communities he has looked at sell none of the food they raise. They either consume it all themselves, or barter it for a few things. In fact, electricity has been brought into the community, but many (most) don’t even have their homes hooked up to it because they can’t afford. it. Does this mean that communities like this, the poorest of the poor, are doomed to no clean water?

We are going to visit with the Alcalde of Bolivar and see if there might be a solution that we can then turn into an EWB project. What about handpumps which have no operational costs, but do have maintenance and repair issues? Apparently many of these communities follow a usually dry riverbed, that has siginficant water at the top. What would a large very long trunk waterline down from the mountain cost?

Both of these solutions may not work. Hand pumps only work to about 50-100 mtrs in depth. And what will be the quality of water that shallow? A large several mile long trunk water line down from the mtn may be beyond our capabilities and that of EWB. There may, in fact, be no solution. But, dad gum it, as long as I’m the Executive Director, we are going to look into it. We’re going to try to figure out a solution. If we can’t, we can’t.

I thought you might be interested in some of the discussions we have at Staff meetings.

Thanks for your interest in EIA, and remember, none of this work is possible without your support of EIA and our engineers. Please support our “We Fast So They Can Drink” campaign this year. Click here to learn more.



Posted on: September 24, 2012

Dear David and Ruben,

I just would like to thank you and the rest of the EIA staff for all the help for the upcoming project. The EIA team is constantly working with us in communicating with the community, working with local universities for water sample tests, and more logistics. It’s as if we have a part of our project team in Bolivia, and makes our dreams of bringing potable water to communites a reality. EWB-UF is thankful for all the help, and is looking forward to our future with Engineers With Action!

Luis P. Delfin

Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering, 4EG
University of Florida

2012 Annual Fast!

Posted on: September 18, 2012

Engineers in Action’s Annual “We Fast So They Can Drink” will be Thursday evening Nov. 8 through Sat. morning Nov. 10. We’d like to invite you to join us in this crucial fund-raising event for EIA. Your participation will help determine whether EIA will be able to add an engineer and be able to add four more projects in 2013; and thus bring potable water to four more communities. Your participation will allow EIA to save additional lives.

The most frustrating part of the executive director’s job is knowing the Bolivian villages that are desperately in need for water, and then having an engineering university to contact me and offer to come to Bolivia, to design, fund and help build a water well in some remote village. And then I have to say “No! You can’t come,…  because our EIA engineers are swamped with work, and we can’t afford adding another engineer. In the last 4 months we’ve had to put 3 universities on hold; and that is without advertising that we need partners.

Fees from our partners only covers about 15% of our budget. The remaining comes from individual donors, and much of that comes from the Fast.

Participation is easy! Join us in the Fast, and then ask your friends, family, and colleagues to sponsor you, much like a 5k walk-run. If you’d like to join “We Fast So They Can Drink”, please register by clicking here. The money you raise will go directly to support the salaries and logitical support of the 5 Bolivian Engineers and one Water Technician of Engineers in Action, and if we get enough fasters, it will allow us to add an additional engineer.

Once you register, we will provide you with a packet of materials including:    • Sample email you can tweek, edit and send to family and friends   • A page on our website to place your photo, a comment about why you are fasting and a place where donors can give using PayPal.   • Sign-up Sheet for Donors   • Hand out to Donors

Main Fasting Page
Sign Up Form

EIA Welcomes New Staff Member!

Posted on: July 10, 2012

Lauren Butler, our new
EIA/IEMB Volunteer Engineering Liaison
Engineers in Action is excited to announce a new staff person: 

Ms. Lauren Butler: EIA/IEMB Engineering Liaison.
Lauren is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and in Dance. Lauren was the President of EWB-Minnesota, one of the largest, most active EWB chapters in the US and she did a EWB project in Guatemala. She is also a person of great faith, and very active in her home church.
Lauren is uniquely qualified for this job. She speaks Spanish well. She’s an engineer. She understands the issues in organizing and fund-raising related to leading a team to the Third World, which will help her guide these new, yet-to-be-created Church Engineer-led VIM teams. She’s organized and used to working with volunteers. And she dances! (We dance a lot in Bolivia.)

Lauren received 4 days of training in being a long-term volunteer in the third world from the United Methodist Church and will begin fund-raising for her support. She will raise her own funds for her time in Bolivia. Her current commitment is to volunteer for a minimum of one year.


Lauren will serve as a liaison between EIA and the Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en Bolivia (IEMB) to bring engineering solutions to the basic needs of remote villages related to the Evangelical Methodist Church of Bolivia. These projects will include building a new Medical clinic in Capayqui; bringing water to villages with IEMB Health Posts; and bringing other engineering infrastructures such as irrigation, sanitation, and erosion control to villages with a Methodist presence. She will help develop and work with church engineering Volunteers In Mission teams. These will NOT be EWB teams, but VIM teams with an engineering focus. She will work with the communities to set infrastructure priorities and then help find teams to design, fund raise, and build the projects.

EIA grew out of the partnership of the Methodist Churches of Oklahoma and Bolivia. However, now, EIA is completely autonomous from both Methodist Churches, and is non-sectarian. We’ve been asked by the Bolivian government to work in the 50 poorest Municipalities (counties) of Bolivia (the poorest country in S.A.) So we work literally with the ‘poorest of the poor’. Usually these Municipalities are so remote there aren’t any churches in them. However, we still have contacts with the Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en Bolivia (IEMB) and they often come to us asking for help. But we can no longer provide assistance to these villages because ONLY 80% of the Municipality lives on less $2/day, not 85% which is required. THEY AREN’T POOR – – ENOUGH.


Lauren in Guatemala

We also don’t work in these communities because EWB chapters would prefer to not work with church organizations, and much of EIA’s funding doesn’t come from Methodists. However, now that we have a long-term volunteer through the Church, we can help these ‘Methodist’ villages and projects, without using general funds or messing with our non-faith based status.
Lauren will be traveling to Bolivia in late August, early September to begin working for us.
WELCOME LAUREN. Your time, your faith, and your commitment are going to literally save lives, and impact the faith of dozens, if not hundreds of people.


Conference 2012

Posted on: March 29, 2012

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Engineers Without Borders International Conference.  I met up with many of the EWB-USA teams EIA works with – including Univ of Arizona, Univ of Memphis, Univ of Idaho, Missouri S&T, Okla. East, and Univ of Tulsa.  It was enlightening to see how other teams have had such awful experiences with other NGOs around the world.  Non-responsiveness, other agendas, and inconsistency were common themes.  At EIA we strive to be a responsible partner to both our project team and the community.  It was wonderful to hear great feedback from these EWB project teams and to overhear them saying to others how lucky they were to have a good NGO.

Being in a place with so many other people that share a passion for helping others is uplifting and renewing.  It is amazing to see the kindness, generosity, and spirit of the teams.  Thank you for working with us and helping our communities!

-Rebecca, EIA Secretary/Treasurer

UMCOR Announces Grant to EIA

Posted on: March 8, 2012

“The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is pleased to support Engineers in Action projects in Bolivia. With this support, Engineers in Action will provide potable water to communities in need, build sanitation facilities, and provide education to the communities on the use of eco-latrines, among other projects.” Rebecca Dobbins UMCOR.

This is the third year for UMCOR to support EIA. Only this year they have increased the Grant from $9,800 in 2011 to $20,000 in 2012-2013. This may be the last year for a grant from them. UMCOR’s primary mission is to do short term disaster relief. They seldome get involved in long-term development issues. But because of our connections with UMCOR and the real respect that we have gained from them, they have continued to support EIA.

UMCOR’s grant will cover 80% of the cost for two EIA Engineers: Milton de la Cruz and Marcos Robison. Your donations help to pay the rest.

Milton de la Cruz works on three projects. His primary project is at Erquis Sud, near Tarija in southern Bolivia. This is an exciting joint project between EIA, Habitat for Humanity Bolivia, and EWB-Missouri University of Science and Technology. Habitat is building 100 homes for the homeless on the outskirts of the major city of Tarija. They asked EIA to help bring electricity, water, erosion control and sanitation to the new village. And EIA recruited EWB-S&T. This partnership has done remarkable work bringing electricity and putting in a water distribution system. They have also built giant gabions to help with erosion control without which the community could have been wiped out. They are hoping to complete the deep well within a few months.

Milton is also responsible for the Konani Water Well which was first put in place in 1993 by my family and still working. We are in negotiations to rehabilitate that well, and put in another one in a joint venture between EIA, the Municipality of Konani, Tulsa Southside Rotary Club, and the Evangelical Methodist Church of Bolivia.

Milton’s other project is with EWB-Purdue in Papachacra to bring potable water.

Marcos Robison is responsible for the Cotani Project with EWB-Tulsa University and EWB-Oklahoma East Professionals bringing eco-latrines to the village; Suncallo with EWB-Colorado Springs Professionals bringing potable water; a new project beginning in a few months at Marquirivi with EWB-Arizona University to bring irrigation; and Kincucirca/Sorata with EWB-University of California at Davis to bring potable water. Marcos is also working with our on-going project at Inca Katarapi.

If you would like to help with the remaining costs (about $2,000 each) for these two engineers, you can donate online here,