Our current project is in the area of Vallecito of Panama and is one of the first B2P projects to take place in Panama. Vallecito is in the Cocle region and we will be working out of a small town called El Valle which is about 30 miles away from our project site. There are several small communities in Vallecito surrounding the Rio Indio. During the rainy seasons of the late autumn, the river tends to flood making travel between these communities difficult or nearly impossible. This separation inhibits the local community’s access to regular education, health care, and economic opportunities. The majority of the communities live in poverty and this separation from the rest of Vallecito can be devastating during extreme conditions.
Our task is to design and construct a pedestrian footbridge approximately 100 feet in span so that the river can be safely crossed at all times of the year. We are currently working with a representative from the US Peace Corp who serves as our in country manager to help us throughout the process. The site visit from January 6-10, 2014 was our first view of the site and serves as a fundamental part to start the building process. Apart from building a bridge, our goal is to create a lasting relationship with the communities of Vallecito. In terms of funds, we are responsible for fundraising at least $10,000, but further expenses will make our total required funds amount to around $20,000. With this being our first project, we are in the process of implementing ways for significant fundraising.
Approximately 2300 people from 7 different communities would benefit from the bridge in Vallecito. During the summer months from January to March the river can generally be crossed any day. Yet during the winter months from May to August, heavy rainfall significantly increases the water level in the river. Although the rainfall subsides after the winter months, the water level does not decrease until about mid-December. During this long span of peak flow, the communities on the east bank of Rio Indio are separated from the school, and the communities on the west bank are separated from healthcare and the main market. This bridge will benefit these communities by providing access to the economic and social opportunities obstructed by the river during times of peak flow.
Bridges to Prosperity
Bethlehem, PA 18015
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015