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posted May 24, 2011, 2:15 PM by Julie Bateman   [ updated May 24, 2011, 7:54 PM ]

We arrived in the Pantanal three days ago (May 8) and found the school in very good condition - running water, solar-powered lighting, and even plumbing! It looks much more like a building than when I last saw it in August 2010, with a bit of paint and some finish for the floors, it will be ready for classes. On our way into the Pantanal, we had a layover in Poconé, the nearest town about 2.5 hours away, to pick up materials and to meet with the Secretary of Education, Rose. Rose will be registering the students along the Transpantaneira (see photo to right) and the Cuiabá River next week, and the school should start by late May. 

Meanwhile, our water systems team - Cory Von Achen, Greg Ewing, and Micaela McCabe - is hard at work on the biosand water filter (BSF). They are currently assembling the formwork for the BSF filter from leftover wood formwork from last year's construction, and are also running water tests on the local drinking water and the swamp water.  This coming week we hope to pour concrete into the form to make a professional-looking BSF. Check out their blog at for more details.

There's already been two great discoveries - first, we learned from Tom, the new manager of the lodge, that you can jump off the nearby bridge to swim, and second, the new cooks Tica and Suene, brought us a the perfect drink for the heat of the afternoon -  batida made of papaya, bananas, milk, and ice. We aren't yet strong enough to pull ourselves up from the water to the bridge, so today we put our skills to use and made a ladder along one of the posts.