Goodbye New Jersey!

I am writing this blog as I fly between Philadelphia and Atlanta in route to Guatemala (I’ll post it online once I land in ATL). I am looking forward to working in San Antonio again. This particular community will always hold a special place in my heart as my first water/sanitation project abroad. I am so happy with their growth as a community and to see them taking some things we built together and expanding them. For example, they have copied the composting latrine design and built 17 more for homes since we built the first two latrines together in 2009. One aspect of my project on this return trip is to provide materials for the remaining families without latrines (toilets) to build one per home. In addition, we are constructing a large elevated tank platform (10m high) to hold a water tank that will gravity-feed water to the entire community! The funds needed for these latrines and the water tower were raised in the “Gift a Goat & More!” fundraising campaign. Those funds are making some major projects feasible that would otherwise be hard for me to support with my own monthly donations. Thank you! Thank you!

Haiti is still on hold. An interim government is in place and voting will resume next month with a new president due in April. I will be working in Guatemala, EL Salvador and Panama until July so we are just waiting to see how everything goes with the upcoming elections (part 2). As of right now, it looks promising for a late summer/early fall trip to train the students who received their goats earlier this month.

feet in the ocean
This is how you dip your toes in the ocean in February 😉 

I am extra homesick this time around. I usually get homesick while packing and for the first day or two away, but this time is just a little harder than usual. I really enjoyed my [extra] long stay in New Jersey (after I finally got over the 6-week bronchitis fiasco). Having postponed Haiti twice, I ended up with an extra month here and was able to spend my birthday with friends and family and be part of some special events (a baby gender reveal party for Melissa and an MFA Thesis show for Blythe). I internally chide myself for being homesick in the first place. I think about people who leave for years at a time, whereas I usually go for two months here to two months there and then two months over there. It is a nomadic lifestyle, but it does allow me to see my family between most countries. I’ll be back again for about two weeks in mid-April before heading to my next project in Panama. My next long stateside stay will be in July.

Ok, I’m off to learn more Spanish, build about 20 toilets and help provide water to a hardworking, awesome community!

Have a happy Tuesday!

6 thoughts on “Goodbye New Jersey!

  1. You are a brave woman, and I am so blessed to see such courage. You are blessing us at home also when we see the work you are doing. I will be keeping you in my prayers and following your messages that you send.Love Eileen

    1. Craig, I am sure you miss her just as much as she misses home. My heart goes out to you. And it WAS a great post — honest, revealing, inspiring.

  2. Caitlin, your are an inspiration to us! Know that you have the prayers of all of us here at St. Padre Pio Parish – both adults and children as you continue to meet the very basic needs of so many people. We are blessed that you are in our lives! Love andprayers, S. Judith

  3. Caitlin, Thanks for keeping us posted. We will be praying for you always. Love your heart! So happy we got to spend some time together before you left again! We will have game night again when you come back!

  4. Keeping you in my prayers, God will be doing great wonders through your willingness to keeping Jesus first. May the Lord refresh and strengthen you thru the Holy Spirit!

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