I found wifi - finally! I've been in the field since Monday and was desperately trying to find wifi - I even brough my own device - but couldn't make it work until today. Last week I had 2 interviews, one with a scholar and one with an NGO. On Thursday I met the expert on earth construction, Professor Julio Vargas. After waiting for an entire hour in his office, I was finally able to speak with him in between several phone calls. Although a bit distracted, he gave me extremely useful and new information on earth construction. Surprisingly, he said Peru was one of the pioneers of anti seismic earth construction in the world! I wonder how much of that is true... However, apparently I should put aside my skeptic thoughts on the matter because the world conference Terra 2012 was held in PUCP (Pontifia Universidad Catolica del Peru) and was very successful. At first, I was really glad of hearing this: my own country a pioneer in research about earth construction! But soon enough these thoughts were replaced by the realization that not much has been done here (not a single book has been published, only manuals). If this is the situation in a pioneer country, then how are other developing countries coping with this problem? Research began in the 1970s in Peru, which is only 40 years ago, and some countries haven't even started researching on possible solutions for the seismic problem. The only possible positive conclusion that I could reach after these thoughts was that there was great potential for my research to contibute to the field.
The next day I spoke to NGO CARE, who had done several projects on the area of Chincha using reinforced adobe construction (Adobe is a form of earth construction, one among many). PUCP gave them the technology they had developed in the university and CARE used it to build new, anti seismic houses in Chincha. It was a successful project, but only at a small scale. I realized that even NGO help had been very uncoordinated, and this, added to the fragmented response of the government, made reconstruction slow and inefficient.
This week I'll be talking to government programs in Chincha. Tomorrow I have an interview with FORSUR, which is the institution responsible for funding reconstruction after the 2007 earthquake, and the following day I will talk to the people from Techo Propio, which is a government program for housing reconstruction.