Meet Catie Carter, Researcher in residence in Palomas

Catie Carter

Catie Carter

by Catie Carter

Hello Border Partner enthusiasts!

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to this community: I am a PhD Candidate in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas in Austin and am conducting my research here with Border Partners!

I am interested in all aspects of Border Partner’s sustainable technologies programs, but I know I cannot understand the way these technologies work without understanding life of people here and the stories of these places. I have moved to Columbus to immerse myself here and I hang out with and help the Border Partner’s team during the day to learn all about life and the process of introducing technologies.

I will also begin conducting interviews this fall. I would love to hear everyone’s opinion and stories so I can share this knowledge with the academic community, others who hope to improve lives through sustainable building technologies, and those who misunderstand life at the border.

Feel free to come talk to me or ask me any questions about this process!

  • Catherine (Catie) Carter

Summer activities in Palomas enthuse Border Partners intern

by Catie Carter

Catie Carter and water filter project

Catie Carter [right], Border Partners summer intern in sustainable technology, displays the important new water filter that Juan Carlos, the high school Chemistry teacher and Joel, the high school Physics teacher,are introducing into the Puerto Palomas community. This water filter will remove toxins of arsenic and fluorides.

Hola! I am Catie Carter, a PhD student in Sustainable Design at the University of  Texas, Austin. I’m volunteering and studying activities here in Puerto Palomas this summer.

I arrived last week and have already met so many lovely people working towards positive change in Palomas. The picture above shows me with Juan Carlos, the high school Chemistry teacher, and Joel, the high school Physics teacher, who are creating a simple and important water filter to distribute through the town, starting with the schools.

This water filter is specifically designed to pull toxic arsenic and fluorides from the water. Right now, the two men are working on a prototype and conducting quality testing. They were excited to show me their work one afternoon.

This project is one of many initiatives that Border Partners supports and that community members and leaders carry out. In my first week here I’ve met many others committed to improving their community:

  • the education center’s neighbor Sam, who now runs a papercrete business;
  • the friendly and fun group of promotoras who promote health, good nutrition and exercise and run the summer school;
  • the enterprising group of women who craft oilcloth bags and aprons for Palomas Oilcloth Designs;
  • the gardeners, working in both a demonstration garden at the center and helping to make home gardening the norm …and even more!

In coming weeks of July, I’ll learn more about the new bio-char projects, solar oven operation, the papercrete manufacturing, solar hot water heaters and other initiatives.

The community has been so welcoming. I’m inspired by everyone’s energy, commitment, and the friendships they have formed.

In the coming years I hope to write a meaningful and helpful dissertation about sustainable design in the Borderlands. My experiences here with Border Partners and the Palomas community will be invaluable in my investigation on change in “the built environment,” the human-made space in which people live, work, and recreate daily.