Week 9

Week 9 of my internship is coming to a close. This marks the beginning of the end of a great summer experience. I remember the first time I went into the Water for Panama office. It was a few days before my internship started. I was moving into my apartment, and had to pick up my house key from Rachael at the office. I sat in the chair that was going to be my home-base for the next 10 weeks, and looked around our tiny office. Back then it was hard to imagine spending 10 weeks hidden away in a small office with just one other person, but now it is hard to imagine not coming in to the office every day.
This last week I’ve been working on a “To Do” list Rachael made me. I purchased the testing supplies for our upcoming trip, created a new contact database for Water for Panama, and made a new map of the Katy trail. We are biking the Katy trail to end our summer fundraising campaign. We didn’t like any of the maps on the website, so I made a new one that includes where things like bathrooms, water fountains, restaurants, and picnic tables are.
I also spent a lot of time this week trying to get into contact with the Hatch distributors. Hatch is the company that produces the Pathoscreen tests that we want to use while we are in Panama. I did some research a couple weeks ago to see if the Pathoscreen would be safe to transport in our checked luggage. The TSA said it would probably be fine if we kept the product information sheet with it, as it detail the chemicals it contains. We wanted to see if we could avoid the potential hassle of someone confiscating our tests anyway by having them shipped directly to the church. Unfortunately,the US Hatch cannot ship to Panama because they have a Panamanian distributor that we had to communicate with directly. Also unfortunately, it appears the Panama Hatch distributors do not speak very good english; however, I speak no spanish so there was not a better way to communicate. The emails were slow coming, taking three or four days for them to respond. Today we decided that we ran out of time to get the tests from the panamanian distributor, and just ordered them form the US distributor. So we’re taking our chances transporting the tests in our checked luggage. Keep your fingers crossed for us (although it really shouldn’t be a problem).
We’re getting ready for our bike ride. We found a bike rack that will hold all four bikes, so now we only need to drive one car to St Charles. We’re all going to drive to St Charles together early Saturday morning, and start our journey there. We’ll bike all day, and set up camp in Marthasville. Rachael’s mom has volunteered to drive out and drop off food for us, but we’ll have to carry all our personal supplies, sleeping equipment, and tents with us. The next day we’ll bike to Tebbetts and stay in a hostel. The last day we’ll bike to Columbia where Rachael’s mom will pick us and our bikes up and drive us back to St Charles.
We’re continuing to plan our trip to Panama. We’ve got all of our testing supplies ordered or in the office. We’ve made up assessment sheets. We’re hoping to have our international flights finalized today, and our domestic travel plans finished soon.
Next week Rachael is going to well drilling training, so I’ll have the week off from Water for Panama. Then Saturday we leave for the bike ride, and get back on Monday. SO my next update will probably be Tuesday when I’m back in the office after the bike ride. Then we have four days in the office, then off to Panama! I’ve got some exciting stuff going on in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for updates on my awesome adventures.
Here are a few pictures from this week:

The "To Do" list Rachael made me

The “To Do” list Rachael made me

All our testing supplies!!!

All our testing supplies!!!

Rachael organizing our testing supplies

Rachael organizing our testing supplies

The interpretation guide for the petrifilm tests

The interpretation guide for the petrifilm tests

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