“The left engine won’t start,” is not something you ever want to hear from your pilot. Fortunately, we were still on the ground when we heard that announcement at 12:45 AM this morning and it was followed by an uneventful flight a couple hours later.

So began our 4-leg, 24-hr flight from Portland to La Paz, Bolivia. As I write, we still have a long journey ahead of us before we can begin the work we set out to do: build a 120-meter suspension pedestrian bridge in the remote valley of Llapallapani, Bolivia, to connect the community to essential health care, education, and economic opportunities. During the rainy season, the river becomes dangerous and residents must walk hours to cross over the nearest bridge. The design was engineered in-kind by employees of Parsons Brinckerhoff and Kiewit. Team 1 is wrapping up tower erection and cable installation as I type. Team 2 (that’s me!) will take their place over the weekend to oversee completion of the bridge, including decking and guy wire installation. We will also be on-site for inaguration, which I’ve heard is a moving and memorable experience.

Equipted with a couple sets of work clothes, my trusty sleeping bag and pad, and all the camera gear to my name, we’ll land in Bolivia in the wee hours of tomorrow morning to embark on an adventure quite some time in the making. We were told not to expect internet, so this is likely going to be my only post before arriving in Llapallapani. I honestly don’t know what to expect beyond a kind community, accomodations outside my normal, and the building of bridges beyond the physical. Oh, and stories. Many, many stories.

And so we go!

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