I hope all is well with everyone. The big news from Panama is that I'm here with my wife! We got married on September 4th in Daytona Beach and had our honeymoon in Charleston. We are heading back to site on Saturday after I finish up some medical checkups here in Panama City.
Let me update you on the past month or so!
August 12-29: Panama
In the middle of August I talked with the school director and we hosted a talk on waste management to both the parents and to the students. We talked about waste prevention, reuse, and reduction, as well as talked about ways to deal with garbage. The plan is to build a sanitary dump since the other, unhealthier, option is burning it.
Another highlight was participating in the election of a new parent teacher committee. I got to help with the voting process and tally up the votes at the end. Also, the local health agency said there might be funds available to help construct more latrines, so maybe we can start on construction in January! We shall see.
After saying goodbye to people from my community, telling them I would return with my wife very soon, I went to Panama City to help train the new Peace Corps trainees. I told them about my own experiences as a volunteer and what roles a volunteer has (facilitator, trainer) and what roles a volunteer does not have (money provider). I also had a couple days to hang out with my host family from training.
August 29-September 18: Wedding Time!
And the time to return to Sarah finally arrived. The week before the wedding was quite hectic, but all the logistics fell into place and we had a great time being with friends and family. It felt like I didn't have enough time to talk with everybody, but Sarah and I were super thankful for all the people who made it.
Our afternoon wedding on September 4th was beautiful. Pictures can be found on the link on the right. The photographer will be posting pictures here.
After a couple days in Daytona Beach, we traveled to Charleston, where we went to some fun restaurants, had a trip to the beach, enjoyed a carriage ride around the city, and took a tour of Boone Plantation and the famous 3/4 mile of oaks and included in the film The Notebook.
We also came back to Panama City for a few days at The Marriot, enjoying the wonderful food from the concierge lounge and touring Casco Viejo.
September 18-September 24: Back to Panama
Before heading back to site, Sarah and I travelled to the Darien to help facilitate the field tech week for incoming volunteers. I facilitated the topics of PVC Bridge Crossings, Building Tapstands, and Tank and Springbox Cleaning. During the evenings, some of the facilitators presented some pictures and stories about their experiences in different parts of Panama.
Right now Sarah and I are in Panama City for my one-year medical checkups. The always fun stool samples were mixed in with a couple shots and a dentist appointment. Hopefully my good health will continue for the next year! After beginning my Peace Corps experience at 170 pounds, I dropped to 147 at one point, now sitting comfortable at 157 pounds. I think a couple weeks in the States were a big help in gaining some of that weight back!
The next few weeks we will be back on site catching up with everyone and telling them about our wedding. We'll stop by the school, maybe play some soccer, and then head to an All Volunteer Conference in the middle of October.
Thanks for reading!