Tom's 2010 Trip to Bolivia


In the Andes with Engineers Without Borders




During the summer of 2010 Tom traveled to the Bolivian Andes with the Missouri Science & Technology's chapter of Engineers Without Borders.  Even before leaving the comforts of home, Tom was anticipating a unique adventure, "This time I will be in an Aymara community at around 10,000 ft. give or take a few hundred feet and about 15 km from the peak of Mt. Illimani at 21,201 ft.  Gasp.  Iíll be living with them, eating what they eat, sleeping where they sleep, and down there it is mid-winter. Iím also going to smell as I wonít be able to wash my clothes or myself. The reason we are going down there is to get them a source of potable water."
As it turned out the adventure was everything Tom had imagined and more.  He had nothing but high praise for Engineers Without Borders and their NGO affiliate, Engineers In Action.  "I feel this is the most important work I have ever done at any time in my life, helping save lives in the third world. Plus I like the ďon the edgeĒ adventure of it all. So Iím providing them (Engineers Without Borders) with as much video as I can to help them raise money for future projects. Iím also looking at going back to the Andes to expand the story about Tacachia if I can".

Tom also had high praise for the students of MS&T, "Let me say that Iím always hearing how todayís youth are brain dead automatons who spend all of their time texting rather than being involved in the world. Not the kids I get a chance to hang out with. They really do want to change the world. Since we left a Bolivian engineer came down to test the water and it is good as gold. As a result other communities have begun to ask if our students could come to their communities to teach them how to build bio-sand filters. What a perfect ending to the story so Iím going to do what I can to go back with them in May. Tacachia has obviously stolen my heart."

Check out Tom's video "Tacachia," it tells an amazing story, and in early 2011 it was the recipient of "Best Short Form Film Award" in the EWB-USA International film competition.