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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Herrera Province, Panama

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Herrera Province, Panama
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Registered: December 2016
City/Town/Province: cary
Posts: 1
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She was one of the lucky ones, and by "lucky" I mean trudging up miles of gravel covered roads, through fields and forests with her little brother clinging to her back for hours. When she finally arrives, she is fortunate enough to have an education available, the possibility of learning and growth. In rural Panama, children are not always able to attend school as a result of the limited availability of school houses. This access to education is of personal importance to me by virtue of the impact and value I place on the acquisition of knowledge. Classrooms have been a "safe" place for me throughout my life; they have been somewhere I can express myself, ask questions, and develop as a person. The idea that other young girls were not provided with a "safe place", a place to escape from their current situation, was incomprehensible. I was immediately committed to ensuring that someday, they too, would be able to have this haven and oasis filled with knowledge and possibilities.
The current Panamanian schooling situation is inhibiting education and prohibiting the youth of the country to develop the skills needed to advance in their community and the world. I found this to be extremely distressing. As a result, the project of developing a solution began. It was to be an economically feasible, environmentally friendly, and easy-to-build schoolhouse. There would be no machinery or processing that could emit CO2. By using "luci lights", all lights could be rechargeable through solar power, and water proof. There would be holes constructed on the sides of the earth bag walls from which light could come in, and "luci lights" could be placed in a way that they were simultaneously emitting light and collecting energy from the sun. The measurements were made, models constructed, trials of ideas and possibilities executed. We used the idea of "earth bags", which are essentially biodegradable, weather resistant, cloth bags containing soil. The structure for the roof would be framed with bamboo from the area and leaves, both of which are abundant and easily malleable. After all the planning and preparation, there we were presenting to the local government and awaiting its opinions.
I could feel my heart beating anxiously to the ticking of the clock on the wall, as the mayor sat silently reading over the proposal, occasionally nodding. He had made his decision and started speaking in a quick Spanish tongue I couldnít interpret fast enough. The time between the announcement of his decision, and when I was given a translation was embedded with nervousness and anxiety. However, it was both the most humbling and prideful moment Iíve experienced when I finally learned that he loved it, he loved every bit of it, and he wanted to present it to the President.
Afterwards when pictures of us holding the model of the project and the Mayor were taken, there was no need for a reminder to smile, for the grins on our faces were frozen; we were suspended in perpetual excitement. When his secretary typed a letter of introduction about us for his presentation, for we would not be in town long enough to present it ourselves, I could not sit still. I could not focus on the distinction between her fingers flowing over the keys, and her voice asking us about our school and our background; I do not remember whether she asked first what grade I was in or what prompted us to begin this endeavor. What I will always remember is how I felt, sitting in that office, knowing that something I created, something that I worked on, would be constructed and put into use to help the community which had welcomed me.
Date: December 13, 2016 ∑ Views: 1062 ∑ File size: 27.1kb, 2920.9kb: 2448 x 3264 ∑
Hours Volunteered: 350
Volunteers: 3
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 & 18-40
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 1000
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