Thursday, May 27, 2010

Seventh Month on Site


It has been over a month since I last updated, and much has happened. I'm thankful for all the comments and people staying in touch--thank you! As I write, I'm also a bit sad as I had to say goodbye to my fiancee Sarah yesterday. I can look forward to the fact that we'll be getting married in about 100 days!

I'll comment on a few different topics during this post:
1. Water Seminar, Part 2
2. Trip Back to the States
3. Back to Panama with Sarah!
4. A Look Ahead

1. Water Seminar, Part 2

After finishing up the first 3 day session, I traveled up to each community to complete a small analysis on their aqueduct and attend any meetings they had during the week. One community had organized a talk on household water disinfection and community water usage.

Below is a quick overview of the topics we discussed.

Day 1: Homework Review, Roles in an Effective Water Committee, How to Develop an Effective Water Committee, Effective Meetings, Thermoforming Endcaps

Day 2: How Much Should Your Monthly Water Payment Be, User Accountability, Expenditures and Collections, How to Collect Payments in Your Community, Yearly Work Plans

Day 3: How to Write Formal Letters, How to Talk to Government Agencies, Review, and Closing Ceremony

Overall, it was a great way to be in conversation with the people I'm working with about lots of important topics that will be discussed during my time here. We should be equipped with knowledge to handle the current challenges we are facing in regards to water system management.

2. Trip Back to the States

It was quite the whirlwind trip back to the States. It was a five day trip packed full of activities. Thankfully it included a date night with Sarah and getting together with her family and some friends from USF.

Here are some other things that happened in only five days: Premarital counseling, Sarah's graduation from USF, Advisor Meeting with Dr. James Mihelcic and his wife Karen, Church at Holy Trinity, Visit to the church, reception hall, and beach pavilion for our wedding, and also got to do some wedding registry, tux fitting, and wedding bands. Whew!

3. Back to Panama with Sarah

Thankfully, Sarah was able to come back with me to Panama for two weeks. During this time, we got her situated at the house, cooked some tasty meals, and visited the school a couple times. Each classroom would give her an applause, it was very neat.

After being on my site for a few days, we visited a volunteer in Bocas. Sarah participated in her first official spanish presentation, presenting the idea of the Lorena Stove. The next day we worked on the aqueduct, adding a sediment release valve and cleaning out the water tank and collection tank. It was a great trip, but we could do without the crazy curvy bus trip over the mountains at 60 miles per hour. It does not make for a happy stomach!

We returned from Bocas to go to our Regional Meeting. We met up with about 15 other volunteers at the Country Director to talk about things going on in our communities and in Peace Corps as a hole. It was a great way to reconnect with everybody and get informed.

Upon returning to site, house repairs were in order. We added some fabric above the bed so that pollen from the roof won't fall all over the bed and make us sneeze. Another project was filling the old latrine that had been open to whatever frogs, mosquitoes, and cats that wanted to go in. Being an environmental health volunteer, that pit had to go. We also added some rocks to make our dish cleaning area outside a little less treacherous.

Sadly, Sarah left to the airport yesterday. It was sad to see her go, but the next time she'll return to my site we'll be married, so that's comforting. Come back soon!

4. A Look Ahead

In the next month, I'll be helping facilitate the water seminar at two other volunteers' sites. Fit in will also be a project management and leadership seminar to a government agency near me. Yay seminars! On site will also be continuing the aqueduct improvements and latrine solicitude.

Thanks for reading all this and blessings to you and yours!


The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:20-21


  1. Sarah was telling us about the great trip you both had. Sounds like things are really coming together and your house is becoming a home. We are proud of you both and your great work and adventure. Stay safe. Look forward to seeing you in less than 100 days.


  2. Great work Kevin! And Congrats for going to be married!

    It would be cool to learn about water management and all that and even water zoning.
    I hope all is well there! :-) Take care.

    John Bockhop