After a long search, EWB-USA NEU has finally decided on a new program in the village of Las Delicias, Panama. Las Delicias is home to around 200 people in 50 homes, and it located about three and a half hours from Panama City. Most families make their livelihood through subsistence farming along with main cash crops including oranges and coffee.
In August 2014, a group of students and the Honduras Professional Mentor, Dan Saulnier, traveled on a service-learning trip and were placed in Las Delicias. They assisted the community in building a water storage tank for the local school, as the local water supply system was neither consistent nor sufficient enough to continuously supply the school or many of the villagers with water. The Northeastern students and faculty spoke with the villagers about their struggles with accessing water on a regular basis, and an initial explanation of Engineers Without Borders and the project process began.
When two EWB-USA NEU members were able to attend the ASCE Global Engineering Conference in Panama City, they also made time to travel to the village. They were able to further the relationship with the community and explain the application process, and the community set to work on completing their official application. The community of Las Delicias and the Northeastern Chapter continued to coordinate and were able to submit their reports, which resulted in an official approval of the program in mid-March of 2015.
The first assessment trip took place in August 2015, and the work is ongoing.