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One volunteer: Laurent Gauthereau, Design Engineer CVCD, Ferro ingénierie, France

“I have seen it as a completely new experience. An adventure, somehow.”

“When I was told that I would have to build a water tower, I wasn’t sure I could make it,” Laurent lamented, “but when I saw the organization set up by the Xylem Watermark team, I understood that I would be in good hands. The construction was pretty easy and we all were very well assisted. Actually, my biggest difficulty was making myself understood!” Laurent laughed. He added, “The best reward was sharing this experience with the kids, having them thank us and watching them having fun with water.”

Short description of your / your company’s main area of work, your years in the industry, any awards or major projects or achievements you’d like to share.

I conceive, design and budget heating, ventilation, cooling and smoke evacuation systems in the following projects:- Commercial buildings – Hotels – Hospital – Schools

How did you get to know about Waterdrop?

From the supplier, Eric Garcera

Why did you choose to participate?

For the following items: Adventure, humanitarian, a new experience

What did you expect to experience before the trip started? And what was your first impression when you finally arrived? How did you feel?

I was expecting a less comfortable and more ‘back-to the-roots’ trip. I thought we would be in more rural places, surrounded by the jungle. My first impression was “it’s really hot!” I felt very excited and committed to the project.

Building water towers in elementary schools: Tell us a little bit about your experience – both building the towers and working with the children.

As soon as they told me that I would have to build a water tower, I had some worries about my ability to do it. But as soon as I saw the organisation already put in place by Xylem watermark, I understood that we would be in good hands. The construction was pretty easy, and we were well-supported. The most difficult thing was to be understood. To be able to share this with the children, to see them thank us and to enjoy the water, was the best-possible reward.

What were the major challenges you encountered and overcame during the trip? (i.e., heat, sanitary conditions, tiredness, etc.)

The hot temperature and the language barrier were the main challenges to deal with.

What’s your single most valuable moment or experience from the trip?

I can’t say one thing was better than the other: the royal welcome from the workers at the Watermark factory, the tower installations, the times and the evenings spent with the rest of the team.

How was the relationship building and teamwork with the other participants – both from your country and from the other countries?

Relationships were a bit difficult at the start of the trip due to language barriers. But we experienced a wonderful time, and we created strong links during the trip. I really appreciated being able to exchange with people from other countries and cultures.

Now that some time has passed since your Waterdrop volunteer trip, has anything changed in your life? What is your favourite memory?

I am living my life as I did before, but I do more than I did in the past. The trip allowed me to understand a lot of things, and to update my priorities.

Would you recommend this Volunteer Trips to your colleagues or do such a trip again?

I would recommend everything I did and enjoyed.

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience that we didn’t ask?

I would like the team to be able to get together again to relive these marvelous times.

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One volunteer: Terence Curzon, Principal Mechanical Engineer, AECOM, U.K.

“It was a moment that I will remember for as long as I live.”

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