So, i have to admit at my last entry I was a little disappointed at the lack of celebration of my birthday by my townspeople, but as always, they surprise me and pull through.
This monday and tuesday we had an accounting seminar planned for the last 2 months. i had invited another volunteer who has a larger site and has already done some computerized accounting to come in for 2 full days and teach some basics with me. we are talking what is accounting, why do we need it, and what is a cost, etc. really basic, but very important especially as my group of women is starting up again the construction of the restaurant! very exciting for them. anyways, so lisa came out and we had a blast. these women are incredible and i realized through her visit and her comments what confianza or comradery i have with these wonderful women. we laugh and joke and play! it`s fabulous. well, i showed up on monday at the beach with lisa and as i looked at the table there outside the fonda, there was a dulce or cake. i thought, what in the world is this...well, 2 of the women had made it for my birthday and they all gathered round and sang me feliz cumpleaños right there before we started the seminar! this would be a great surprise for the states, but you have to understand what a sacrifice in resources and time this is for them! it is very costly to make a cake and they had to send a message with someone to get the butter for it. then they hae to go to the other side of town to bake it in one of the only ovens in town! all this for a cake, the irony is that i had been telling dari that i really wanted a cake for my birthday, but i hadn`t had the chance before the day to get a mix! so i had actually picked one up that weekend to make at some point just to have a cake for my birthday, although it would be late. but here they had gone and made me one!
plus, one of the oldest women in town, had been raising chickens and offered me one for my birthday, she took it to her daughter my neighbor (fina, for my family who met her and used her bathroom) to kill and make into soup. this woman is the definition of generosity as she has practically nothing herself but always seems to be giving me something when i visit her. and a chicken! that is a really costly item, it reminds me of the woman washing jesus`s feet with the precious oils that she had, something so rich for them to give away like that. what a sacrifice! i felt so blessed.
the seminar went very well and in the coming 2 weeks they have practice sessions with me and then an exam at the beginning of june. i`m hoping they`ll learn a system that we can really implement and keep going. they are very willing and ready to work with it, but it will be quite a behavior change.
i am on my way to penonome, staying over in santiago for the night. i have a meeting tomorrow to present a proposal asking for a little fund that peace corps committee has for small projects. mine is an environmental education trip to chiriqui with my panama verde group in august. we`ll see. they are only giving out a couple, and who knows how many volunteers will be after them.
as far as my running goes, i am half way to the marathon in august. and the other weekend i had a long run the equivalent to a half marathon, so i`m on track. we`ll see if my body holds up though and the road allows me to run. right now they are actually fixing the bridge into my town! however, before i could skip along some rocks from the broken bridge to get across whereas now i have to cross the other part of the river, meaning i have to take off my shoes and socks on one side and then wade across the current to the other side where i put them back on and continue the run. quite the site i`m sure! but i definitely have some accountability as a man in a neighboring village saw me running in another part of the district and asked me if i was the ´marathoner´. haha.
the rains have begun and so the buses now do not go to my site, it`s hiking time, but not too bad about an hour into my site. but i found out that i was missing something in my house when it flooded some the other night because of the heavy rains. so dari like the princess he says i am, dug me my moat or trench for my castle so that the water drains around the house and doesn`t enter in the cinderblocks. always something!
before i forget, happy anniversary to my parents and aubrie and andy! i think that makes 32 for my parents and 2 for aub and andy!
other news, we are getting going on the park again, although there was some community upheaval in the fact that the committee chose to pay some albañils (i forgot the word in english) from outside the community and made people mad who had given of their time for free earlier in the project, so we`re at a standstill again.
oh, something very interesting and we will see how this plays out, to tell you some differences here. i am told that a mother of one of the poorest families entregò or gave her daughter, age 14 at the most, to a young guy in town, age 20ish i believe. meaning sent her to live with him. this is a huge scandal right now, and illegal. the townspeople i have talked to do not approve and not sure if authorities will be brought in. but it was for monetary reasons i believe, bc his family has sold their land to the big american company and so they are one of the wealthiest in town now. it worries me in the sense that she was an active member in my youth group, but didn`t show up to the last meeting, which is odd. and today on my run i saw her walking late to school bc she had missed her ride. not sure what is going on there.
Hope everyone is enjoying the summer there as ours is closing out. everyone here is ramping up for futbol world cup style here! not unlike neyland stadium on a saturday afternoon in the fall, my town`s going to be on the nights that the games start (friday)!