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THE AIR UP THERE: is better than the water in Nicaragua. From L to R: Delphine Bouvry, Cameron Baughen and Ines Kwan.
Christine Cheung/The Gauntlet

U of C students back from Nicaragua:

Environmental Science students return after testing BioSand Water Filter

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Has the thought of a summer spent in sunny Central America ever crossed your mind? What if someone else was willing to cover the tab?

This is the experience students Delphine Bouvry, Ines Kwan, Cameron Baughen, and Kiran Lerner participated in during the past several weeks.
The quartet of Environmental Science students spent July 4 to Aug. 29 in Nicaragua installing and studying the BioSand Water Filter developed by University of Calgary Professor David Manz.

"The trip was excellent," said Baughen. "Originally we planned to just install filters, but eventually we expanded to actually do scientific research."

The resources for the trip came from various sources. Through
the involvement of non-government organization Samaritan's Purse, the Central American Water Resource Management Network, the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua and a $9,500 grant from the International Grants Committee at the U of C, the four organized and funded the trip.

The federal government awarded a $4 million grant to CARA in order to make experiences such as this trip possible for students.

"This project has a mandate, among many other things, to send students to Central America to gain experience," said David Bethune of the International Students Centre and Program Manager for CARA. "We linked these four students to our [CARA] partners in Nicaragua and through UANAN they were provided with a house at no cost
to the U of C as well as a cook, a driver, e-mail, and computer support. Basically anything they needed to live as foreigners there."

The trip was considered an academic success. The team had
several objectives that along with the installation of the water filters included instructing Samaritans Purse in the scientific analysis of water quality, promotion of the U of C's international strategy, and linking of non-government organizations, universities and government organizations. They accomplished all of their objectives, and even went beyond their intended purpose.

"Along with accomplishing their objectives," said Bethune, "the students formed a partnership with UANAN and collaborated with them in
the research."

This should not be the only trip taken by U of C students to Central Am-
erica.

"There is lots of opportunity and funding for students," said Bethune. "Any students or faculty interested in working in Central America should contact me."

Information regarding CARA can be found at their website: www.geo.ucaglary.ca/CARA.

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