For the Sake of a Hot Shower

Installing solar heating panels on 10 homes in five days was the ambitious goal of a group of UConn students visiting Peru in late May. As part of a thermosiphon system, the solar panels will enable the residents to take hot showers.
Installing solar heating panels on 10 homes in five days was the ambitious goal of a group of UConn students visiting Peru in late May. Part of a thermosiphon system, the solar panels will enable the residents to take hot showers. Here. Luke McNaboe ’15 (ENG) climbs down from the roof of a home in the village of Luquina, Peru. (Amanda Baez/UConn Photo)
The homes selected for this service project were located in a small village called Luquina, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, which is the highest navigable lake in the world at 12,500 feet above sea level.
The homes selected for this service project were located in a small village called Luquina, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, which is the highest navigable lake in the world at 12,500 feet above sea level. (Amanda Baez/UConn Photo)
To help get acclimated to the high elevation, the students climbed to the Sun Gates at Machu Picchu, at 7,972 feet above sea level. To help get acclimated to the high elevation, the students climbed to the Sun Gates at Machu Picchu, at 7,972 feet above sea level. Jasmin Folch '16 (CAHNR) enjoys the view.
To help get acclimated to the high elevation, the students climbed to the Sun Gates at Machu Picchu, at 7,972 feet above sea level. Jasmin Folch ’16 (CAHNR) enjoys the view. (Jasmin Folch ’16 (CAHNR)/UConn Photo)
The 15 students are all participants in the UConn LSAMP program, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, an organization that supports minority students in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math).
The 15 students are all participants in the UConn LSAMP program, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, an organization that supports minority students in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). (Amanda Baez/UConn Photo)
The group worked side by side with the local people, under the guidance of Robert Erickson, an engineer for Pratt & Whitney.
Samuel Schick ’17 (CLAS) (on the roof) and Fernanda Goncalves ’16 (CLAS) work side by side with two local residents, under the guidance of Robert Erickson (not shown), an engineer for Pratt & Whitney. (Amanda Baez/UConn Photo)
The students stayed in pairs with local families. They said the opportunity to bond with the families pushed them to work even harder to complete their goal.
The students stayed in pairs with local families. They said the opportunity to bond with the families pushed them to work even harder to complete their goal. (Amanda Baez/UConn Photo)
By the time the third panel was completed, the group had divided into smaller teams, each specializing in building a certain portion of the panel. By day three, each team was a well-oiled machine, running between houses to share supplies, lending a helping hand wherever needed, and moving on to the next house as soon as their portion of the project was completed.
By the time the third panel was completed, the group had divided into smaller teams, each specializing in building a certain portion of the panel. By day three, each team was a well-oiled machine, running between houses to share supplies, lending a helping hand wherever needed, and moving on to the next house as soon as their portion of the project was completed. Here, Paulina Henao ’17 (CLAS) (left) and Linette Duluc ’15 (CLAS) attach piping to a corrugated metal panel. (Amanda Baez/UConn Photo)
Each of the students pitched in and carried large pieces of wood, water barrels, and corrugated metal up the side of the mountain to the designated homes.
The greatest challenge was transporting materials up the mountain, where four of the houses were located. Each of the students pitched in and carried large pieces of wood, water barrels, and corrugated metal up the side of the mountain to the designated homes. (Amanda Baez/UConn Photo)

'[Visiting] Peru was an unforgettable, life-changing event,' says Paulina Henao ’17. 'Making a difference in people’s lives was not only fulfilling but also an incredible experience. I can definitely say that my experience in Peru opened my eyes to spectacular sights and a bigger heart.'
Michael Johnson ’15 (ENG) (wearing red) and Paulina Henao ’17 (CLAS) prepare a roof panel along with local residents. ‘[Visiting] Peru was an unforgettable, life-changing event,’ says Henao. ‘Making a difference in people’s lives was not only fulfilling but also an incredible experience. I can definitely say that my experience in Peru opened my eyes to spectacular sights and a bigger heart.’ (Amanda Baez/UConn Photo)
The trip was led by Education First tours.