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least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me' " (Matthew 25:40)


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  The Rotary Club of Ripon, Wisconsin invites you to participate in an important project that will directly improve the health and quality of life in several Central American villages. The Padre Pablo Dam and Reservoir will provide a year-round, dependable supply of safe drinking water to several isolated villages in the Darien Province of the Republic of Panama. 

For nearly 20 years, the Ripon Rotary Club has supported the construction of rural water projects that have brought clean, drinkable water to hundreds of homes and thousands of people in the jungles of Panama. While the projects have been successful, the flow of clean water is dependent on the region’s 8- to 9-month rainy season. During the 3- to 4-month dry season, the clean water supply slows to a trickle or stops altogether.  

To ensure a dependable, year-round supply of clean water, the system needs a dam and reservoir. 

The Rotary Club of Ripon is committed to raising at least $150,000 for this four-year, $500,000 construction project, and we are seeking the participation of other Rotary Clubs, other organizations, and individual donors throughout Rotary District 6270. 

With the support and cooperation of Rotary Clubs in Panama, Ripon Rotary Club has made it part of our mission help the people of Darien Province provide for themselves a source of clean, safe water. Without clean water, there is no future for them, except misery, sickness, and premature death.  

But they have shown us that there is little that people cannot do to better their lives if they have the knowledge, the resources, and the will. 

The Rotary Club of Ripon challenges you to join us in helping the people of Darien Province to build a brighter future for themselves and their children. Your contribution to this project is tax-deductible

To learn more, or to schedule a brief presentation about this project at your club or organization, please contact Laurie Kasuboski—(920) 748-2651 or l.a.kasuboski@gmail.com. 

Text Box:


With regards,


Lee Prellwitz, President

Rotary Club of Ripon 


Father Wally Kasuboski, a Capuchin priest of the Franciscan Order, and a native of

Ripon, has lived in the backcountry of Panama since 1988, serving the spiritual and temporal needs of a parish of 2,500 square miles and 30,000 people in more than 40 villages. Between masses, baptisms, marriages, and burials, “Padre Pablo,” as the locals call him, works to improve the lives of his mostly poor parishioners, by helping them and teaching them to help themselves. 

He has taught men to be carpenters, welders, drivers, masons, and roofers, and women to be seamstresses. With mostly local labor and materials, and at minimal cost, they have built schools, churches, and bridges, and improved and maintained the few local roads.  

Among their most ambitious efforts are several successful water projects that deliver fresh, safe water to many of the villages in the parish.  

When Pablo Padre first arrived in Panama in 1988, many of the residents of these isolated villages were sick or dying for lack of safe water. At best, they were riddled with intestinal parasites; at worst, they were dying of cholera and dysentery. During the 3- to 4- month dry season, many of them had to walk several days to find any water at all, and then draw it from contaminated rivers. Local wells offer only putrid, tainted water year-round. 

Father Wally helped the locals set up several water projects to deliver safe water directly to the villages. The largest of these is the Torti water project. Drawing water from a stream high in the mountains the system feeds a 62,000-gallon tank at the mountain’s base. From there, the water flows by gravity through a 3-inch water main 25 miles long. From the water main, 16 miles of pipe carry clean water to 330 homes. Despite their crushing poverty, residents of those villages assessed themselves for funds to help build the water project. To maintain the system, each household pays a modest water fee based on their usage.  

One Rotarian wrote after a working visit to Father Wally’s parish, “Wally has no tolerance and little time for those who aren’t willing to help themselves.” And the local people have proven themselves more than willing to work hard for their own future. Their projects have won the support of the Panamanian government and of Rotary Clubs in Panama. 

The locals “think it’s a miracle that they have water every day,” Father Wally says. But during the annual 3- to 4-month dry season, mountain streams like the one that feeds the water system slow to a trickle or dry up altogether. To meet current needs year-round, and to bring clean water to more villages, the system needs a reservoir and dam. 

The Project So Far

On donated time, hydraulic engineers have located a site for a dam 8 to 10 meters high on the same high mountain stream now used as the source for the water system. The dam and its reservoir will contain adequate water reserves to provide potable water year-round, for the basic needs of villagers in the district. The dam will be built with local labor and materials and with donations—of money, tools, materials, and labor—from Rotary and other sources. 

The project will also include construction of a micro-hydroelectric station at the dam, generating up to 400kw during the 8½-month rainy season—enough power to serve the essential needs of 250 to 270 households in the region. Currently, only a few villages closest to the Pan American highway have even intermittent electrical power. 

The Ripon Rotary Club has supported Padre Pablo’s many projects for nearly two decades. Groups of club members and area residents have made nine trips to Darien Province to swing a hammer or wield a shovel, and to see first-hand how our support has helped Father Wally’s parishioners to help themselves. 

Ripon Rotary’s Goal

Our goal is to raise at least $150,000 from Rotary Clubs and other organizations, businesses, and individuals throughout Rotary District 6270. Some of the funds may come from Rotary District or Rotary International Matching Funds.  

Through Ripon Rotary, there are also opportunities for individuals or teams to travel to Panama to provide hands-on labor and assistance to the water projects or other building projects. 

Donations of tools, materials, supplies, equipment, and shipping are also welcome. Please contact Laurie Kasuboski, (920) 748-2651 or l.a.kasuboski@gmail.com, for a list of current needs. Your donation to this project is tax-deductible. 

Rotary International has identified clean water as one of its priorities for international service, and the Padre Pablo Dam and Reservoir project is a perfect fit. Please consider making this project a part of your Rotary Club’s international service. 

Please send tax-deductible contributions to
Ripon Rotary Charitable Foundation, P.O. Box 455, Ripon, WI 54971-0455

 and write “Pablo Padre” on the Memo Line on your check.

Thank you for your support for this project.

Last modified: June 18, 2013