Nick Meloy, a geotechnical engineer in Chantilly, VA, wanted to give back. He started doing some research about how he could use his experience and expertise to help others. Through some networking connections within his church community, he discovered an opportunity to provide geotechnical services to the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Wycliffe, which are involved in Bible translation worldwide.
Papua New Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world, with more than 800 distinct language groups. Nick paid for his own trip to and from Ukarumpa in Papua New Guinea, as well as all equipment and living expenses during his time there. He was there from December 12, 2015 through March 24, 2016.
Both the locals and SIL were unfamiliar with the soils in the area, resulting in many issues with their structures and roadways. Nick created his own soils laboratory and performed field work with a hand auger and vane shear kit. He discovered that the residual soils at Ukarumpa were highly plastic and expansive. Armed with this information, Nick provided the town with analysis and recommendations to remediate existing issues and help guide future construction.