Sorry for the delay between posts. It's hard to believe that Sarah and I only have just more than two months left in Panama! We will definitely miss the people here, but we will also be very happy to see many friends and family again after long absences. The plan is to fly into Florida, visit with Sarah's family in September, then head to Tampa for October to finish my thesis. Then, we begin the great migration north to Madison and Minneapolis for November. December, the job search begins--location TBA.
In the past month or so I've been able to do some visits to other nearby communities, offering advice for spring maintenance, giving presentations on latrine construction, and preparing another community for a future Peace Corps Volunteer. I enjoy being able to meet new people of the same culture as my home community--they are also surprised when I can speak their lanugage and know their customs.
A continuing project throughout my whole service has been rehabilitating aqueduct. We did one more material purchase to now work on house connection lines after we completed the main line. Work has been extremely slow but I'm confident they will have a working aqueduct system by the time I leave.
Quite randomly I ran into a visiting group of 25 USF School of Nursing students who arrived to Panama, staying in a nearby community and working in more rural communities. After explaining how I was also a USF student and working in Environmental Health with the Peace Corps in a nearby indiginous community, they asked for my participation in giving an informal presentation about my experience working with communities to improve health. Sarah and I even ran into a mutual friend from USF ultimate!
Thesis testing has kept me very busy. The last rounds have been testing two different communities every two hours throughout two consecutive days, testing the chlorine residual at six different locations. I've found out that the chlorine tablet is disintegrating a bit too fast, leaving the chlorine residual a bit higher than the recommended range. I will continue to do more field testing and then polish up the thesis at USF, and then defened my thesis and submit a copy to the American Water Works Association.
In June we also went to Panama City, where we visited my host family from training and helped make some additions to the training materials for Project Management and Leadership seminar that Peace Corps hosts. We also watched the new Pirates of the Caribbean in a really nice theater for $2.50 each!
That's a quick (or maybe not so quick) update from Panama. See you stateside in two months!
Blessings and peace,