Getting it going ...
It is summer and it is hot and dusty, but with nice breezes. The other day dari and i went on a bicycle borrowed from a neighbor with 4 of us on one child size bike! one of the handbars, me on the connector to the seat, dari driving and one on the back! i had to hold in the laughs at the ridiculousness of it all, feeling like i was back in the 1950`s. so we went down to the watering hole...tons of kids chasing, splashing and climbing in the trees like monkeys diving into the water below (very deep thankfully). it was great! so refreshing.
This past weekend dari and i with funds from the company in my site were able to take 15 teenagers of my panama verde group to a national park, volcan baru, the only volcano in panama. we stayed at a ranger station and packed them all in. they had a blast but we were freezing as it is in the western highlands of chiriqui which can get quite cold esp. when you have little cold weather gear! but i was so thankful dari went to round up kids and get it together because the bus almost didn`t make it up to the sleeping spot so we had to rearrange plans for the trip of the agenda the rest of the time. but it worked out marvelously. we took a hike up to a lookout over the park at about 3,000m elevation and wore them out after 5 hrs of hiking. and then got to go to the flower and coffee fair in the nearby town which has gorgeous flowers (see online photos) but funny they are mostly what i grew up with impatiens, begonias, etc bc of the climate. but bc my town is such a hotter climate at lower elevation this is quite an attraction for the majority of panamanians. we got KFC on the way out of town (staying one night and 2 full days). and i had to stop and think bc i had ordered something extra and told a little boy (13) to wait for the order to come up as i went to the restroom, well as i came out he was still standing there because he had no idea how fast food restaurants work! he`d never been. he didn`t realize you had to wait for the number or if no number was called ask! Wow, puts things in perspective. The whole trip was an awesome springboard for them to get excited about cleaning the community and protecting their area, but also about being a part of the group. lots of kids want to join now, so we`ll have to get it all together!
i am just coming back through town going home from our regional meetings which we have every 3 mos. with all the volunteers in my province (22). we went to isla gobernadora which is very close to me, right off the coast actually where one of the girls from my group lives, probably my best friend here. So we had a great time on her island (which i had not visited yet despite proximity) doing the meeting but also we did a volleyball tournament us vs. panamanians (which they are quite good and beat us) while in between each game we game hiv´aids talks and gender talks to the players and crowd. i actually was in charge of the kid entertainment and we made mobiles out of shells and coat hangers while the rest was going on. erin, my friend who lives there, called me the pied piper! to end we played a game of women vs. women and that one, the u.s. won! maybe we should have been playing all women from the beginning!? It was really great and fun to see her place and get some reenergizing fuel from other volunteers again. Now i`m headed back to town and rolling again. Hope all is well and it isn`t too cold there in the u.s.! Take care!