Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Fifty-one days until I will be a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.

September 13th, here I come!  It definitely seems surreal.  I am very excited to move home and I feel like I'm ready too.  There will definitely be things that I will miss, but there are others that have, to quote a friend, "really ground my gears" and that I know will dissolve into laughable memories as they make me an overall more grateful and appreciative person.  I am applying for a Peace Corps Response job that would bring me back to Panama in January and because of this, I have put off starting to accept that I am really saying "goodbye."

I'm planning to keep busy for my last couple months here.  I'm headed out to my friend Sergio's community for the installation of the solar panels and the pump for his water system tomorrow.  It's exciting to see projects being completed!  I'll be spending some more time out there as we install the distribution system in August.

Life is good!  :)

Water Storage

For less than $2.50 we are starting a movement.  Ok, maybe it's not a movement quite yet, but I sure think it should be!  Traditionally people in my community, including myself, store water in plastic 5-gallon buckets and then scoop it out when needed with a cup or bowl.  My friend Nate had made one of these in his house and I had actually done this about a year earlier for a black bathing bucket, but hadn't thought to use it for drinking water.

With a spigot, some rubber washers, and a plastic nut we are turning a readily available 5-gallon bucket into a safe water storage container.  The kind that little kids don't stick their hands into!

As a community we are struggling to find an effective and convenient system to use to chlorinate the water as it enters the tank.  To read more on the way Panama's Ministry of Health supports rural water system chlorination read Kevin Orner's thesis.

Even with chlorination at the tank, water can be recontaminated at the home where it is stored for use during frequent water outages in the dry season.  Community members have heard about treating their water with drops of liquid bleach, which is also readily available, and the majority seem to show an interest in doing so because they understand the health benefits.  Hopefully this flashy water container will be just what they need to flaunt their sanitation status around their community and provide clean drinking water to their family!

Look, Mom!

I did it.  Dove in!  Made jam without my mom.  I'm such an independent, grown-up woman!  ;)  
Best part of mango season: Eating mangoes!
Worst part of mango season: The smell of rotting mangoes on the ground...
Save excess mangoes from their rotting fate in a gelatin-y, sugary preservation home?!  For sure!
My neighbor came over to lend a hand and learn.

Mango jam infused pancakes?!  Double delicious!