H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Dec 29, 2010 8:09 PM by Danielle Lerner

Cal Poly Engineers Without Borders return from Thailand

Some Cal Poly students were far from home for the holidays, working to install a water filtration system in a remote village in Thailand. Eight people from the school's Engineers Without Borders program took the three-week trip. They left December 4 and landed back in the U.S. Tuesday night. Students say it is an experience that will last a lifetime.

For nearly three weeks students with Cal Poly's Engineers Without Borders program worked around the clock, installing a much-needed, slow-sand water filtration system in Huai Nam Khun, Thailand.

"It's kind of like good bacteria eat bad bacteria out of the water," said Josh Soliz, a project manager. "They have plenty of water but the problem is there's not enough clean drinking water so many kids have water-borne illnesses."

It came down to the wire but the team and the villagers completed the project. A moment five years in the making.

"They were so thankful," said Soliz. There were so many times where we'd be walking in the village and everyone in the village would come up and just shake your hand."

A holiday gift students hope will keep on giving.

"It was great to finally bring the clean water to the people in the village and then the generations afterward," Soliz said. "There's just a humanly bond with another person you know, knowing that they need something and we can help them and being able to provide that for them."

The Cal Poly chapter of Engineers Without Borders also works on a variety of projects here at home. They include the rehabilitation of a creek embankment in Poly Canyon. Students also plant trees and clean beaches several times a year.

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