I hope everyone is well and enjoying the cold winter. I tried sending some warm weather up north, but it didn't work. Sarah and I went back to Minnesota for ten days from December 23rd through January 3rd. We went from 90 degrees in the Panama airport and sandles to 15 degrees in Minneapolis and two feet of snow on the ground. Thankfully, my parents were there waiting with winter jackets, hats, and gloves for Sarah and I.
We celebrated Christmas with both the Orners and the Trulens and were able to visit my Grandma Bev in the hospital throughout the week. When we left, she was not doing well but recently she has started talking again and has said she wants to go out to eat. We are praying for her continued recovery.
Another highlight of the trip was our second reception on January 1st. My mother worked hard to plan out the delicious chinese food, great party favors, and beautiful decorations around the church. We had over 150 people show up, including family and high school friends who I hadn't seen in years.
After getting back to Panama on January 3rd, we visited my host family I had during training. We stayed two days, talking about the holidays, praying at the church, and heading to the waterfall with their grandchildren. Afterwards, we left to Cocle, a neighboring province, to help facilitate a water seminar. We talked about water conservation, health, and aquaduct theory for three days. It was way up in the hills, so it was windy and cool the whole time. Thanks to Kathryn and Aaron for hosting us!
Once we got back to site, we were reconnecting with the community and continuing our environmental health work. We installed a chlorinator, fixed some tube that had been destroyed by a fallen tree, and had an inauguration for a completed aquaduct. Also, baseball season has started, so I've been attending practice sessions in the field throughout the week.
Hope all is well with you and hope to see you soon.