Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Day 3: Testing water samples, teaching local children about water, and crocodiles!

Our day started off in San Cristobal, an island in the Bocas del Torro region, to test the water of a local community. We arrived there by boat around 9:30 and met with the community president. She gave us information about her community, whose population is about 1,200 people, and then brought us to where they stored their water.
Our day started off in San Cristobal, an island in the Bocas del Torro region, to test the water of a local community. We arrived there by boat around 9:30 and met with the community president. She gave us information about her community, whose population is about 1,200 people, and then brought us to where they stored their water.

There were two main water reservoirs, one that was about a 10-minute walk from the community, and another that was right on the outskirts. The first reservoir we visited had recently been built by the community in order to store more water, but unfortunately, an American owns the land, not the community. He allows them to use the spring, but since the owner wishes to build a resort, the community is unable to build a fence around the spring to keep out the livestock.



The second reservoir has been around much longer, but the flow is slow and is no longer sufficient for the size of the growing community.




On our walk to test the first reservoir, we were greeted with a chorus of "hola's!" by the excited children; we also saw a variety of animals including chickens, pigs, dogs, and goats. 








While we were collecting and testing water samples, we had the opportunity to try cacao beans before they are processed into dark chocolate.







After collecting the samples, Dr. Arriaga talked to the children about water and where it goes.



We then moved to a larger area to "body storm," using our bodies to model various concepts. We demonstrated what happens to the water after it rains, and how the system changes if it’s wet season or dry season. After a few minutes, some of the children volunteered to join us.

While this was all going on, the women’s group cooked us a large meal of chicken, rice, root vegetables, and prepared a poison ivy salad for us to enjoy when we were done. Everything was very tasty!





After San Cristobal, we visited the primary reservoir on the main island, along with the desalination plant that treats the water. While collecting samples at the reservoir, we noticed a couple of crocodiles in the water, but thankfully they left us alone. After visiting the desalination plant and doing a little grocery shopping, we headed back to Red Frog for the night.


--
Elisa W. and Natalie P.

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