Many have already heard, but I just wanted to update this here as well. This past saturday was the groundbreaking of my community`s Partnership project to make an education center for computers and general studies. I was really nervous about turnout and details, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that over 20 community workers plus women to cook showed up for the work day!! I was even more elated to see that people from every sector of town were in representation, even the evangelicals which generally do not participate in community activities and esp. not ones that involve alcohol! Yes, the chicha fuerte was present, but the men didn`t get hoop it up drunk this day, thankfully bc if they do, less work is accomplished. They leveled out the land and dug the deep foundation that had to be done for the blocks. Then they made the corner strong posts that will give the building its strength by bending iron post into a ladder shape! It was great! I was running back and forth between the kitchen (or large pots on rocks) where bone soup and rice was being cooked (the bones do come with some meat!) and the project site in my large black rubber boots...and loving it! Then monday, the mason and his helpers, which are members of the community that I am in charge of corraling to work for the next month or so, started putting up the walls of cinderblock. Everything looked like it was off and running on monday! I had to leave to go to the city for some doctor`s appointments. My foot is back to bothering me as a result of training for a marathon on sharp rocks for months. I am not currently able to run so I went to see about it. I have foot stretching exercises and pills to take for a couple weeks to see how that goes, before they just saw my right foot off completely (being conservative and all, don`t worry dad!). Also, today a new group of volunteers arrive in Panama City, so there will be a time to host a volunteer or two to show them what volunteer life is like in my neck o´the woods.
I laughed at myself yesterday in the city, when I saw a ´white person´ and literally caught myself staring her down! I am officially panamanian...I gave her the ¨wait a second, what are you doing here?¨ look which the panamanians so famously give me when i am anywhere. OH, I`ve been here too long!
Since I don`t think that I will get to a computer on the exact date, just wanted to say Feliz Cumpleaños a mi Papá (dad) who has a birthday on next wednesday, 22nd. Hope you have a great one dad!
My yard, as I think I have explained before, has continued to be the site of the recreational sports league of madre vieja. Meaning, every afternoon until they can`t see each other anymore, all the town kids come to play in my yard which is now looking more like a mudpit than any semblance of grass. They are very fickle though in their games; futbol was popular for a good time, but for some unknown change of the moon, they have taken up jump rope!! Mom, you would be so proud! I can`t wait to get out there, but i`m afraid i might be too big for them to swing it for me! how troubling. But they even try double dutch and everything. they have competitions with 2 teams battling it out and little rhymes ¨mi abuelita...¨, etc. It`s great!
People ask me often if I miss the U.S., and it is funny that it is not a constant feeling and never has been here, but there are times when it does hit me all of a sudden with an image or a moment that some thing or one here resembles something i know there. Like last night, I was traveling back from panama city in the late afternoon so by the time I reached santiago it was dark. And since I basically never travel at night, I hadn`t had the experience of seeing the ¨city¨ lights glowing. And although there is no comparison to the cities that my mind traveled to remember like miami, atlanta, nyc, santiago and its pleasant glow of night lights reminded me of that...and i missed it. Or sometimes it is just a feeling of being that gives me deja vu and i am carried back to a moment in my life when i felt the same way i do at that moment. strange really. But i am still so integrated here and involved that i haven`t extracted myself or checked out in order to feel that longing for home much. I believe that the minute I leave my town for the last time, I will feel a sudden load lifted off of me. A lightness because of the cargo I think I carry on the part of my town: its concerns, its dramas, its joys, and problems.
Speaking of problems, a sad situation has passed in my town, but hopefully has a possible positive outcome. I have learned that a young man, from an evangelical family, very respectful and timid has been detained and is in the hands of the police since last week for the pregnancy of a minor. A 12 yr old girl from a neighboring community is pregnant and the family says it`s this man from my town. There are supposedly other family members who are suspect according to Pablo, from my town. They will probably do a DNA test soon to prove/disprove paternity. I hope for the best for his family and for him. What a mess!
That`s all for now. Thinking about you all at this time and may the Lord of All bless your day and you shine for Him to the world around us! Like John Piper says in the book i`m reading...don`t waste it!