Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Coffee Solar Dryer Project

Building a solar dryer first begins with a training about post-harvest technologies, value-added products, and solar dryer construction.

Then construction can then begin by digging the post holes. 

The black mesh is stretched over the raised table that acts as the base of the solar dryer. Elevating the base and using the mesh allows for airflow from below to help the drying process. 

PVC tubes are used as the frame above the solar dryer to secure the plastic. 

Ready to dry some coffee! Also will be used for drying culantro seeds, rice, corn, and beans among other crops.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Yet Another Hike

Apparently I don't do enough hiking in my day to day life in site...
Here are a few photos from another mountain I decided I wanted to climb to the top of. This is Cerro Ciri Grande and it's in a community fairly close to mine. 

See that peak far off in the distance? That's the mountain we are going to climb. Did I mention we had to hike from one volunteer's site to another volunteer's site first? It took about an hour and a half to hike over to the base of the mountain. 

A baby horse we saw at the base of the mountain. 

Once at the base of the mountain, we climbed to the top, which only took about another hour and a half, but when you're almost to the top there is actually a part where a rope is needed to help you get up a rock face.

With the volunteer who lives in this community. We are at the top of the mountain and behind us you can see my mountain range (where my community is) behind all the smoke (burning fields). 


There is a huge waterfall in my site. It takes about an hour to hike there from my house and I've been there many times. Each guest I bring and I always speculate how tall we think it is. Well no more speculation is needed because one day I hiked up to the top of the waterfall with some community members in order to measure it. 

A very long string was tied to a rock and thrown over, when I returned to my house I measured the string; it was a about 150 feet long. 

This waterfall in about 150 feet tall!

and did I mention beautiful? 

and has a great swimming hole? 

Volcan Baru

In February two fellow Peace Corps Volunteers and myself decided to hike Volcan Baru; the highest mountain in Panama at 3,474 meters (11,398 feet) high. This hike is pretty popular with tourists because from the top you can see both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean on clear days. To increase your chances of it being clear and seeing both sides it is suggested to be at the top by sunrise. 

This hike is 14 kilometers (about 8.7 miles) one-way with an elevation gain of  2,274 meters (7,498 feet).

Being at the top by sunrise meant starting the hike up at 11:30 pm the night before. 

Headlamps, hiking boots, plenty of snacks, and liters of water were brought. 

It was a full moon and not a cloud in the sky that night. I barely had to use my headlamp, the brightness of the moon lit the path. 
Kilometer markers along the way reminded us progress was being made.

Pictures at each kilometer markers halted after km 6. Partly because there weren't many to be seen the second half of the hike up and partly because km 6 is where the excitement that had been steadily fading, was completely lost. Who decides to hike seven hours UP on no sleep? 
But hike up we did.


Volcan Baru is also only about 35 kilometers from the Costa Rican border. The mountains you see to the east here are actually in Costa Rica, not Panama. 

Finally at the top. Exhausted, hungry, cold, and a super clear view. 

Fried chicken was eaten for breakfast. 

Pictures were taken. 
(Cold hand and no gloves equals wearing your extra pair of socks on your hands.)

Views were taken in. 
A man at the top said that this was is 50th time climbing Volcan Baru, and this day was the 2nd clearest he's ever seen. 

(not) ready to hike all the way back down...

Seven hours up, an hour at the top, five hours to get back down....
refreshments were a necessity. and sleep.  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Fish Tanks

My biggest project in my community is building fish tanks to help increase the consumption of protein and provide a potential source of income. We have been working on the construction phase for the past year and recently received the grant funding to purchase the PCV tubes needed to install water capture systems.

Tube delivery

tying them together
to carry them into the community

tanks at various stages of construction


finished tank ready for water and fish!
installing water capture systems


we use cement to secure the tube in the stream



a finished tank behind me full of fish, my face clearly shows how tired I am from working in the hot sun all day..