Farallon's Margaret Oscilia Teams with Engineers Without Borders

March 18, 2016

EWB TeamFarallon Project Engineer Margaret Oscilia recently spent a week in Honduras with Engineers Without Borders – USA (EWB), a nonprofit organization consisting of 15,900 international engineers that strives to build a better world through engineering.  Partnering with residents in communities throughout 45 countries, EWB members develop solutions to improve water supply, sanitation, energy, agriculture, civil works, and structures.

EWB’s initial involvement with Guadalupe Carney, Honduras, a community of approximately 2,000 people, began in 2012 in response to a request for assistance.  Due to obstructions caused by flooding and road erosion within the community, many community members were forced to walk along the main highway, which resulted in many injuries and deaths.  University students with the Portland, Oregon Student Chapter of EWB arrived in response to the request, helped the community construct bridges and culverts, and provided designs for the community to construct additional culverts on their own. 

The Portland, Oregon Professional Chapter of EWB eventually assumed responsibility for the Guadalupe Carney project, and Margaret joined the team in January 2016, helping renew contact with the community, evaluating the performance of existing bridges and culverts, and determining the potential for construction of new crossings.

During their stay in Honduras, Margaret and EWB team members assisted with the repair of a badly eroded roadway, and demonstrated how to maintain and support the distribution lines in the community’s drinking water system.  Now residents are looking forward to potentially expanding drinking water availability to all houses in the community.

“I loved experiencing an entirely new culture, and living, eating, and working together,” Margaret commented.  “It was very inspiring to see how appreciative they were to have us there and how motivated they were to complete the projects with us.”

The community’s hospitality extended beyond the work sites, and included an endless supply of freshly made tortillas.  Margaret and the other EWB team members especially enjoyed “the most amazing” secluded swimming hole with a waterfall that the residents led them to on a particularly hot day.

group photo