Saturday, April 25, 2009

They said it was a roller-coaster ride

This will be the last day I have guaranteed internet access so I figured I'd just write about the last two days while I can. Yesterday, we had some lectures and got some shots. That took most of the day. I had a yellow fever injection and hepatitis. We then went to Albrook mall/bus terminal to pick up some last minute items and get acquainted with the bus station. Unfortunately, I got sick there (I think from the vaccine plus adjusting to the food and weather) and had to call the Peace Corps staff letting them know that I was feeling really rough. They were pretty amazing and hunted me down in the huge mall and ending up taking me home. I puked in the van but luckily I had a bag from buying shampoo so there was no nastiness on PC property. I did have time for a few quick observations. Panamanians do dress really will. They haven't been lying about that. Also, malls are pretty much the same wherever you go which is comforting I suppose.

So today I am feeling mostly better which is good because we had a site visit today. We went to an Embera community where a current volunteer is serving. The Embera are a Panamanian indegenous group that subsist mostly on tourism. This particular community was built two years ago after a falling out between the old community and these guys. We had to take a boat to get there. It was amazingly beautiful. There was a monkey and I GOT TO HOLD IT! What more could you ask for? The volunteer there told us what he does and let us ask questions. He told us that a good way to combat the lonliness is to throw ourselves into work. I'm going to take that advice to heart. He seemed really excited about his projects. We discussed strategies for getting tourists in and getting paid fairly for it. The Embera have essentially created a union so the won't get ripped off by tour companies making them compete against each other to the point that they LOSE money by taking in tourists. They fed us really well. Fish from the river, lentils, and rice. It was the best meal I've had here by far. It made for a good day and was a real morale booster too. It's comforting to start to see what is expected of me.

Tomorrow we're going to meet our host familys for the rest of training. No more a/c, no more internet, no more hot water. Time to kick it Peace Corps style.

Our arrival.

Embera women weaving. I bought a woven pot from them.


This was truely a dream fullfilled although not quite as nice as holding my little niece :-P


  1. You look so happy holding that monkey!

  2. Hey Kels. Bet those are the same old Army barracks Grandpa stayed in the 1940's! Bet ya. Love, AC