Although our tan has already been swept away and the normal study life has been picked up, our thoughts often go back to the special time in El Progreso. The daily life there, even though it was sometimes perhaps too much back to basics, was wonderful. Throughout the day you are busy talking to villagers and working together, and in the meantime you should not forget to cook, wash, wash clothes and study. This may sound like an easy program, but to do all these "everyday" tasks, you need a lot of time, patience and energy because everything is without machines and not everything is at hand. In addition, modern conveniences such as electricity and internet are not always available. But for the people in El Progreso this is of course a daily routine.
Now that they have the water tanks, the daily chores will hopefully be less heavy. With the storage capacity of the water tank a drought of 26 days can be overcome, which is sufficient in this village according to the inhabitants. In addition, they are no longer entirely dependent on river water, which is of poor quality during heavy rainfall or longer periods of drought.
We hope that our project will have some kind of multiplier effect; because now (almost) all households in El Progreso are provided with a water system at household level, they are eligible for a sanitation program and furthermore our contacts at the Technical University of Panama have a network that can aid these indigenous villagers, such as providing them with financial help or aid with other projects.
During the project we often had reflection moments, first we did this every day during our swim in the river after a long day of hard work, and later it became a weekly thing. What became clear from all these moments, whenever anyone shared a 'pearl' and a 'turd' of the day or week, is that we were generally very satisfied with the project. The much-mentioned 'pearl' was the interaction with the people from the village, whether it was hunting for fish, playing with the children in the river, or going to drink coffee with grandpa and grandma. The 'turd' often had to do with logistics or miscommunication and was a good learning moment of how to do things differently from that moment on. All in all, we can look back to a time where not only we have contributed to changing daily life in El Progreso, but we have also got a lot from them in return: an unforgettable experience.