News Blog

You can keep up with the latest project developments from the people on the ground making them happen via the BWB Blog. We want to hear from you and welcome your comments.

Building Infrastructure and Getting ‘er Done

It has been 3 months since the first BWB volunteer, Sam Bloch, arrived in Pisco, Peru. Sam began immediately assessing the needs of the people here who were still reeling from the 8.0 earthquake that struck just off the coast. One of the first priorities was setting up an infrastructure to welcome volunteers from the Burning Man community as well as international travelers who are looking to offer their skills to support our reconstruction efforts here.

Because most of the town was decimated after the earthquake and there are no newspapers or classifieds, it was very difficult to find a suitable location to house volunteers. But by working daily in the community and making connections with the locals, Sam was able to find a house that 15 volunteers now call home. And when Hands On Disaster Response pulled out to respond to the aftermath of the cylcone in Bangladesh, BWB took over their infrastructure in order to house even more volunteers. We now have the capacity to house 50 volunteers at anytime. To date, we have welcomed over 70 volunteers from all over the world with new arrivals coming in everyday.

And the coolest part? People who have never been to Burning Man think of themselves as “Burners” here because of their volunter work with BWB. And of course, many people who had never heard of Burning Man will be attending the event this year for the first time because of the fine community they have found here.

What have we been up to?

Here’s a couple of highlights-

We are really proud of a little project we call the “Shitter Project”, which is actually a permanent, cement cornerstone that contains a shower, toilet, and kitchen area. This project addresses the gaping need for sanitation that is not being addressed by the established organizations who are supporting temporary housing projects here. We just had a meeting with the U.N. and the other Non Governmental Agencies in the area and people are really excited about this idea. Our hope is that we will be be able to teach this technology to other groups so that potentially thousands of people will have the ability to have clean water as they start to permanently rebuild their lives.

Le Biblioteca

We have also been working with a local Peruvian volunteer, Carlos, who asked us to help him build a library in a school on the outskirts of Pisco. Initially, this was a 1 day project that involved repairing the walls, painting, and then making bookshelves to house 1,000 books that had been donated.

When BWB volunteers arrived, however, they noticed that the room allocated for the library was a bit small and dark, due to a lack of electricity and asked if they could knock down a couple of walls to let in more light and allow more children to enjoy the library.

Well, it has been one week and in addition to enlarging the space, volunteers dug a trench from the street to the school so there would be light for the library as well as for the rest of the school. And they didn’t stop there. Why not paint a giant, colorful map of the world on one of the walls?

Delphine and Irene paint a flamingo on the wall.


9 Responses to “Building Infrastructure and Getting ‘er Done”

  1. Jayh says:

    Hey Burners,
    I just read your entire blog and it almost brought tears to my eyes. (I am a Peruvian burner, who grew up in the States and hasn’t been back to Peru in ages, but I can picture where you are and understand the poverty you must be witnessing and how hard that must be.)
    You guys rock!!! Keep up the good work and be safe!

    BWB admirer,

  2. Evron says:

    That’s a really good idea. I noticed when I was down there one has to pay in order to use the library. That could have been because I was white but, I got the idea that it was the norm.

    How are you cleaning the water for the showers and where is the water coming from? Are you using those little copper coil heaters for the water or just running it at the natural temperature?

    What other organizations are down there?

    What would I need to do in order to volunteer down there? I mean financially.


  3. Mary Figoten says:

    I am currently in the planning stages of a Peru trip this summer and was looking for a project I could participate in for maybe 2-4 weeks. Please update me on the current status of your project and whether you are able to use the services of temporary volunteers such as myself. I speak reasonable Spanish, am a 60ish teacher from East LA, in good shape, and I like building things.

  4. jeremy says:

    Hi i would love to volunteer with you guys. How do i do it?

  5. Carmen says:

    Thank you to those who are interested in volunteering in Peru. It is great to see this much enthusiasm for the work we are doing down there.

    You can read the Volunteer FAQ on the http://www.burnerswithoutborders website and then e-mail if you have anymore questions.

    The cost is around $3/day for room and board and we will be staying until June 15.

  6. Howard Butts says:

    You make the ugly American beautiful.
    Thank you for your generosity both with $ and more importantly you TIME.
    Hope to se you all at the burn and give you all hugs.

  7. david wolf says:

    Burners w/o borders seem to have good plan.
    I think that rocks, and I’m a 9 year burning vet.
    Maybe Peru is a great place to jam,Last year seemed
    like a sell out! Well Later!

  8. Jeff Bloch says:

    I’m proud of you all, especially my brother Sam! I’m gonna try to get a week off to come down there and help…

  9. Weiss says:

    You are so great.
    I’ll have to volunteer for the BWB to.