It’s that time of year again. School is back in session here in Panama. With freshly pressed uniforms the students have begun class for the 2018 school year. Centro Educativo Jacoba Urriola has students in tourism, information technology, and agriculture; each with their own specific schedule. All these students are to be our means of making a difference not only in the community, but in their own lives as well. With the arrival of the students I have begun interacting with them and involving them in activities for future projects, hoping to give them a personal stake in what we at Future Scientist want to do. This past month the students, as well as teachers, have been involved.
To start out my second month I visited Nombre de Dios to capacitate the teachers in giving the chlorine charla that Heidi and I have given in the clinics in the Costa Arriba region of Colón. They showed enthusiasm and saw the value in the charla. They shed light on the water situation in Nombre de Dios and it is much of the same as what is experienced in Portobelo. In the future I hope to get in contact with a water committee member so they can take me on the two hour hike to the water source that provides potable water for the whole community.
The charla series/design competition has taken important steps forward this month. I have coordinated with teachers from every area of study and they have all expressed their interest and support for the project. We are still waiting on staff to finalize the schedule for the entire school year. Once we have that we can start putting concrete dates for the individual charlas and events. I turned in a solicitation letter to the directors of both the primary school and high school and was given the green light. In the meantime I have been developing the charlas for each of the 11 weeks of the charla series. It is shaping up to be a activity filled, educational, and fun 11 weeks.
The agriculture students have been joining me often in our rehabilitation of the emergency water catchment system for the high school. The students have proved to be very interested in the work that we hope to do this following month. The students have been intuitive in their contributions to the work in the stream. From our quick fix for the current tube in the stream system, their ideas on diverting the water, to how to build a stream dam catchment, they’ve been involved every step of the way. And I think they have had fun along the way. With so much more work to do I hope they continue to have the energy and motivation to continue lending me their hands, and their minds, for future projects.