Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Latrines...and a day in the life


Hope all is well with you all. I wanted to include an update on the latrine project in our community and also write about what a day in the life is like here as a Peace Corps Volunteer.


Last Wednesday, we received a visit from the mayor, who told us that he had read our latrine solicitud and worked out an agreement with a local contractor to install 20 latrines in our community. Currently, houses either have old plastic or wood latrines or don´t have a latrine at all. The contractor walked around and handed out a 1 meter stick for all 20 houses, saying that they would dig a hole in the next week 1 meter squared and between 2 and 3 meters deep.

The past few days everyone has dug their hole and yesterday arrived the cement and zinc. Tomorrow will arrive rock, sand, wood frames, and the concrete seats. Next week will be the construction phase, where the contractors will work with our community to build each latrine. The walls and floor will be zinc and a tube will run from the hole to above the roof to have better flow of air to keep flies and odors away.

Day in the Life

As for a typical day, we have been getting up with the roosters and sunlight around 6am, filling up our shower bucket, our water filter, and getting oatmeal and coffee ready. While we eat breakfast, we usually read through a page of The Love Dare and an Ecclesiastes study we are doing.

After that, the day can hold anything. We might visit the school and hold an english class, we could attend a water or latrine meeting, we could head to the bigger city to get groceries and internet done, we could do laundry and throw it up on the line to dry if it isn´t raining.

If we don´t get lunch at the school, we´ll put together some sandwiches, soup, or rice with some gatorade powder to reenergize for the afternoon. There´s always the occassional high school student looking for english help or younger kids getting out of school who want to play Uno.

Around 6, it starts to get dark, so we shower and get dinner ready. Around 7 we are done with dinner and it´s dark, so it´s quite easy to fall asleep! We usually read for a bit, talk about the day, relax in the hammock, and then call it a day!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thirteenth Month on Site


Here´s some details from life here in Panama.

Sarah and I are preparing to paint a world map with the students by scraping paint and sandpapering the wall. Hopefully this will be the most physically demanding part of the job and we can get started painting in the next couple weeks.

One community I am working with decided it could better collect the water quota by walking house to house on the same date each month. We collected a lot more than usual and people are remembering the date. Although it´s only 25 cents a month, the money does help a lot in maintaining the aquaduct system.

We just had a huge community workday, with almost 100 volunteers out of the 300 adults present. We cleaned up around the school, cut all the grass in the common area with machetes, , and dug three holes for garbage. Afterwards, we shared lots of rice and soup. One guy looked at me with a huge smile on his face and said, ¨This is my fourth helping, and they said I can come back for more!¨. One of the few people who can eat with greater joy and in greater quantity than me!

The next day we joined six teachers and six students in collecting money for breast cancer research by stopping cars on the Pan American Highway. The police didn´t come to help slow traffic down, so we stopped cars who were turning onto the side road. Pictures are on the link on the right.

The other highlight was joining our school´s band at the district foundation anniversary festival. Eight bands, hundreds of people joined together for marching, speeches, poetry, music, and a dance. We even got to dress up in our matching outfits!

All the photos are updated and Boja has a new blog up as well, so be sure to check those out.

Thanks for reading!