It doesn’t rain “cats and dogs” here…

…but Parrots instead!

LuLu the Parrot got a wee bit waterlogged during one of the many downpours we have had here

Panama – where the seasons are “wet” and “wetter.” 😉

My first couple weeks here have been busy, sometimes hectic, most always muddy and GREAT!

When I arrived, there was a team here at the Wood’s house from Washington State. They were having medical/dental clinics, building rain-catchment systems and drilling wells (with the same equipment I use, trained by Steve and Jen Lorch who were my trainers!). I helped out where I could in all of those areas and learned a lot from Dr. Ron (who eradicated river blindness from Ecuador) and enjoyed long talks after long days of work with the team members. Two men in particular, Dr. Ron & Phil, were long-term missionaries in Ecuador and Dominican Republic, respectively. I most enjoyed talking with them about their experiences living and working for decades with their different communities. It is also cool to note that I had read (this article) about Dr. Ron and his work 6 years ago and meeting him in person was super cool!

After the team left, I worked on drilling and focused a lot on training two indigenous men.  I started with Nazario & Candido, but most of the time I have been drilling with Candido (from Isla Tigre). Nazario understands the drilling process and is excited, but he has had to work on different projects so he hasn’t trained as much with me this past week. We have drilled 4 water-producing boreholes so far! I have cased two of them, but have not installed the PVC pumps yet.  The 3rd is being abandoned because the location is not easy for the homeowner to access (it is on top of a slippery slope). No worries though because we drilled a 4th and that is in a better spot for the elderly homeowner and will (hopefully) be cased and finished today.

Below are some photos of my 3 weeks here in Panama – enjoy!

View from the front of the Cayuco en route to Isla Tigre
Shrilene assisting Dr. Ron as they evaluated residents of Isla Tigre
My [unintentional] “Evil Dental Assistant” smile while helping out at the Medical/Dental clinic
a LOT of teeth had to be pulled at the clinic
Ethan (4 years old) helping me build PVC pumps during one of our rainy days at the house. The pumps will be used in a community project next week [hopefully we will finish it next week!].
Drilling is really all about the training! Candido & Nazario are doing great! They are excited to take this new knowledge back to their own communities (especially Candido who is from Isla Tigre).
Ellie has been helping me on some of my drilling projects (and quite the quick learner!) – this is our post-drilling photo after drilling and casing a well.
The homes in this photo are rather typical, but the reason I was drawn to this shot is because of the neatly arranged coconut trees lining the background of the houses.
Taking water samples in Blue Fields
another nice local home we passed in route to Blue Fields
The completed latrine we built in the Fall (Sept 2014) using funds from the “A Place to Poo” crowd funding campaign. The team from Washington State put the rain catchment gutters on to supply water for flushing the toilets. This walls and roof were completed by the community.
Drilling is a muddy job. I wash my work clothes every night just to dirty them again the next day 🙂
The girls and I came up with “Hammock Acrobatics” – am I a bad influence? 😉
Rob (one of the team members from Washington) gave “The Hobbit” to the kids, so we have had a lovely time reading a chapter a night. This particular photo was taken during a recent sleep-over party we had in my room …that possibly went a bit passed bedtime 😉
I always have to share some of our special creepy crawly friends from Panama
Seth, from the Washington State team, decided he wanted to catch one of the residents of the Wood Family’s “front yard”
Kitty Pie (@ 4 weeks old). This photo is included to make up for grossing you out with the spiders and cayman…and the tooth. Did it work? Cute cute kitties…


6 thoughts on “It doesn’t rain “cats and dogs” here…

  1. Enjoyed your pics! They really made me feel like I was with you. Without the mud! Keeping you in my prayers. Blessings to you in your wonderful work for the Lord.

  2. Loved the pictures! But I do have a quesiton–is it a latrine, or is it a toilet in one picture? You mention both for the same picture.

    1. Ah, sorry for the confusion. Latrine is the structure, and the toilet part in the comment was referencing the toilet bowl inside. The names can be interchangeable as well, but I typically call them all latrines. This particular design has a septic tank that we made out of an old water storage tank and has a toilet that in order to flush, you pour a bucket of water into the bowel itself. The septic tank design was a request from the community. I’m working on a composting design that will be simple for this area, but I need families to embrace it first before we can build them.

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