Since the end of May 2015 we have been completely focused on the construction of the gravitational vortex hydroelectric plant on our river. We have been working with various teams of local guys and some brave volunteers. As we cannot access the site with machinery, all of the excavations and moving materials (bags of cement, sand etc.) has been done by hand. We have been lucky that this dry season has been very dry (although we were a little short of water at the house) and the river has stayed low enough for us to complete the walls of the dyke and the protective gate for the inlet channel. Now the construction site is protected from the rising river and we can continue work into the wet season with less worries of flooding. 

Progress is always slower than expected and we have encountered several challenges along the way. During the excavation of the channel we hit the water table due to the deep digging required to match the level of the river which has made the job more challenging. Our biggest foe at the moment is an enormous rock in the middle of the inlet channel which needs to be removed. We decided against dynamite (due to the risk of collapsing the walls of the channel and the dubious qualifications of the local explosive services). We are trying to do the job ourselves, using expansive cement to fracture the rock and allow it to be moved in smaller pieces out of the channel. We have also found it hard to keep workers on the job and we are trying to learn and understand the culture of work here. Most of the workers are local farmers and also have commitments to harvests and other work on their land. The work ethic is very informal and workers come and go. Many of the locals are very superstitious and suspicious of foreigners and are afraid to work with us (believing the myths that we steal organs and eat people). A popular belief is that all new constructions need to be blessed with a life (in Bolivia a dried alpaca foetus is buried under new houses for luck), and here people are worrying about who we are going to kill to bury in the cement of the channel. These were not the type of challenges we expected!

image Kadagaya vortex hydroelectricDyke wall

image Kadagaya vortex hydroelectricEntrance gate to protect inlet channel from flooding