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Living a dream in Quililon

Living a dream in Quililon

July 14, 2017

By Jayahari Gopan

Jayahari Gopan

Jayahari Gopan

I’ve always had this thought in my mind that I am being given a boon. I would certainly not ask the almighty for my favourite cruiser bike. Rather I would take that opportunity to walk down the aisles of the past. When I woke up on June 5 I was surprisingly living that dream. It was raining heavily outside my abode (a shabby little tent in a barn). I saw women and kids riding horses, and school kids were swimming past the mighty Thames of the Quililonites to get to their school. How beautiful is the world without technology encroachments?

I was born in village in India that was adorned with the beauty of backwaters and Western Ghats of Kerala. So, what I saw that day at Nicaragua’s Quililon village was just a saturated version of my hometown. Now before trying to explain how these tropics on either side of the globe differ from each other, I would like to thank my company, which gave me the boon to walk through the past. CH2M continuously surprises me with the experiences that it offers me in the area of social welfare. This time around, Bridges to Prosperity offered this task of making life easier to the Quililonites of Nicaragua to tame their Thames. Our goal was to build a bridge across a river that claimed 15 to 20 lives each year.

Stocking up

Stocking up

Journeys these days are always tiresome, especially when you move across borders, so you end up making blunders after planning for so long. My ego makes me call that a learning curve. Such an incident happened as I landed at Managua of the beautiful Nicaragua. My Visa had a duration issue. Thanks to Isaac Madrid who sorted out the issue with the authorities. They ended up giving me a customised visa: cool, right? And I got hear a great deal of Spanish. I won’t say any more but “Hala Madrid.”

On the bus

On the bus

Our team of ten bolstered by a couple of engineers and a foreman from Bridges to Prosperity set out on the mission to build the bridge. I was not completely feeling at home. Nicaragua could deceptively camouflage the green background of its landscape with infinite heat; the temperature could soar up to 47 degrees Celsius. The thought of building a bridge itself is frightening, and the act of doing the same is by no means any easier. My team was in a perfect gender equity ratio, but I will have to say that such differences scarcely mattered when we were so immensely focused on the task at hand, such as hanging on swing-like structures (suspenders) and setting up the nailer boards through the length of the bridge. You never think you are made of such genuine heroics, but when you have a team like the one I was with, nothing is tough but just a lackadaisical stroll. The villagers were happy when we arrived and they served us a feast.

The CH2M team

The CH2M team

We stayed in a barn with the company of cows, hen, geese and a special mention to Pedro and the little lady (canines). The villagers were new to the power tools but once taught, they could very well manage the work on their own. If not for Haiti’s rice and beans & salsa picante, I doubt how many of us would have braved that fortnight of unprecedented incidents. The task got completed on time, quite CH2Mesque, and we were up for another feast. This time it was complete with accolades and music along with exquisite dishes. When we left the village to depart for Ladalia and Granada for a much-needed leisure, my heart was full. I had seen the face of a lady walking on a bridge for the first time in her life, clutching her fists through the hand rails. She was slowly moving through the Thames… she was conquering the river beneath, maybe with fear, maybe with doubt…but certainly with a newly born hope. For the kids, it was a miracle that unfolded in front of their eyes. They should have been happy before we did what we did. But they certainly were sad when we left after completing our task.  A whole lot of things had just happened within a fortnight, but for me I was living a dream.

Tom8

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July 2017

Comments

  1. Amit Vikram Pandey


    Good Job Mr. Jayahari. Appreciate your work for humanity.
    Reply

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