Panama | Day 6, Jan. 11th

Today was a toilsome, though an exciting and fruitful day. The day began at same breakfast place as the previous two days: China Palace (real name unknown). The Chinese woman who runs the restaurant continued to entice us with her cordialness and warmth. She served us flour or corn Panamanian tortillas with eggs. After our wholesome breakfast, we traveled to the Akua-Yala community to distribute more water filtration systems and rice boxes. 

The Akua-Yala community is composed of an indigenous group named Guna. This group is nationally renown for its Mula artwork and beaded art work. First, several toy and clothing items were distributed to the community's many children. The children eagerly seized the our donated toys and giggled with delight. KSU Rotaract volunteers then sorted out barrels and catalogued the barrels according to a certain ID (barrel number and year distributed). Next, recipients were taught how to properly use and maintain their barrels. During this process myself and others were concerned that the recipients would not listen properly. Our team then was divided into teams of a single person to help recipients install the filtration systems in their homes. This process was more difficult since many members of the Yala community spoke Kuna instead of Spanish. Consequently, we had to rely on sign language to communicate. Once the water tanks were installed, Rotaract members distributed rice boxes to food recipients. During this process, we were bewildered by the large number of children clinging on to us. Some were even ready to jump in the van and ride with us. In addition, our team saw exotic monkeys. One was heavily chained, with its claws stuck together. We were in anguish at the deprived state of the monkey and we even said we would go to great lengths to save it. After stating farewell to the Akua-Yala community, our group ate a late lunch at a local Fonda, or cafe. The meal was a scrumptious plate of lentils, rice, and chicken. Filled the spot after a day of hard work. When the team got back, we relaxed a little at the Chapo fire station before grabbing dinner at the One Way cafe. 

-Chenna Padmanabhan

Rotaractors gave out some donations to kids in the Guna community . They were so excited and had a lot of fun with their new toys!

Rotaractors gave out some donations to kids in the Guna community . They were so excited and had a lot of fun with their new toys!

Puzzles were a good activity to challenge their problem solving skills and collaboration!

Puzzles were a good activity to challenge their problem solving skills and collaboration!

The building with a metal roof next to the vans is the clinic where we distributed food and water filters.

The building with a metal roof next to the vans is the clinic where we distributed food and water filters.

The Guna natives have truly beautiful clothing. The beads on their ankles are arms are started when woman reach 15 years old or begin puberty as a sign of becoming a woman. They start with a few rows and continue to build on their decorations, directly sewing them around their limbs and never taking them off. We were told many girls are beginning to refuse the tradition in protest of its implications. 

The Guna natives have truly beautiful clothing. The beads on their ankles are arms are started when woman reach 15 years old or begin puberty as a sign of becoming a woman. They start with a few rows and continue to build on their decorations, directly sewing them around their limbs and never taking them off. We were told many girls are beginning to refuse the tradition in protest of its implications. 

The water filter instructions needed to be translated into their native language, Kuna. We delivered 12 water filters and made sure they were functioning before leaving their homes. The Guna natives keep their culture and community very protected but we were the first group ever allowed into their community to provide aid thanks to a shift in local leaders who recognize the need for medical and humanitarian aid. A foundation of trust between the Guna community leaders and nearby community leaders that WPC partners with is the factor determining how successful our aid will be. They spent months, perhaps years, developing a trust to allow us to enter their community. We hope sincerely that they see the difference filtered water can have and that they continue to allow us to provide more. WPC and teams will continue to check in and make sure the filters aren't leaking and are being used. We want them to know we're here to help and won't abandon them as they develop!

The water filter instructions needed to be translated into their native language, Kuna. We delivered 12 water filters and made sure they were functioning before leaving their homes. The Guna natives keep their culture and community very protected but we were the first group ever allowed into their community to provide aid thanks to a shift in local leaders who recognize the need for medical and humanitarian aid. A foundation of trust between the Guna community leaders and nearby community leaders that WPC partners with is the factor determining how successful our aid will be. They spent months, perhaps years, developing a trust to allow us to enter their community. We hope sincerely that they see the difference filtered water can have and that they continue to allow us to provide more. WPC and teams will continue to check in and make sure the filters aren't leaking and are being used. We want them to know we're here to help and won't abandon them as they develop!

Homes are built with wood and have palm tree leaves for a roof. Stray dogs are everywhere and many children are bare foot. There are many health concerns in their village but we are glad to address their need for clean water as it effects their health in so many ways.

Homes are built with wood and have palm tree leaves for a roof. Stray dogs are everywhere and many children are bare foot. There are many health concerns in their village but we are glad to address their need for clean water as it effects their health in so many ways.

A look inside one of the homes. Each shack houses 3-5 families with at least 6 people per family. The water filters we install in the homes help so many people!

A look inside one of the homes. Each shack houses 3-5 families with at least 6 people per family. The water filters we install in the homes help so many people!

Chenna delivering food to a home

Chenna delivering food to a home