Hey HEY hey! These past couple weeks have been an emotional roller coaster and super busy! It started on a bittersweet note with Thanksgiving. The sweet part was that I had a great time with my fellow volunteers in Cerro Punta enjoying the cool mountain weather and GREAT food. I could have bathed in that vat of mac and cheese. Seeing everybody again was cool, I wish we could have spent more time to catch up. I got to call my family too! My friend from the mountains of Chepo, Deidre, came back afterward to my site with me and helped us look for turtle eggs. We didn't see any but she got to see eggs that the other group found at least. Plus she got to hang on the beach!
There was some bitter afterward though. I had been working on getting the Centro de Salud to do a talk for World AIDS Day (Dec 1st). I was hoping that they could actually do testing in my town. They said they couldn't so I came to terms with that. Then they were too busy on the 1st. Fair enough, I accepted that as well and we made plans for them to come on the 2nd. On the 1st I ran up and down town inviting EVERYONE to the talk but what happened the next day? No one showed up. No explanation, no nothing. I took it really hard because I had been doubting my work and am starting to feel like I'm running out of time here. I tore myself up and got all angsty but when I chilled out and got proactive and gave the hospital a call, it turns out that there was MASSIVE flooding in Tonosi and not only were they in emergency mode, the road to my site was underwater. Wow... so there was a very good reason that we got stood up. We'll just have to reschedule for later. At least I have a giant box of condoms from my homeboys at NIDA.
A wonderful ex-pat and I partnered up like last year for making mothers day cards. It was a lot of fun. SO MUCH GLITTER! It's wonderful to see the kids (and parents too) getting creative. The ex-pat has the idea to put on the Nutcracker for Christmas. I think it's really ambitious but a wonderful idea. It's asking my community to go completely outside their comfort zone but I think that might be a good thing. I hope I can be a help! I did direct "No Exit" in college... same thing right?
My neighbor volunteer, Katie, and I are also being ambitious. We're trying to arrange a sort of environmental festival in Tonosi, the capital of our district. The idea is that we invite our respective turtle conservation groups, the government agencies, and eco-tourism business owners to do talks for the community so they learn about conservation and learn what groups are doing in our district. While that's going on we'll have fun games for the kids like a toss the recycling carnival-style game, dramatizations of a turtles life, and maybe a bob for seaweed game with grapes or something for actual seaweed. To finish the event we're thinking a movie showing. I'm thinking "Finding Nemo" but we'll see what works...
Speaking of the turtle group, we're doing ok. We have 15 nests in our vivero and one is Leatherback eggs! Very endangered, and in terms of the groups success, the fact that we have Leatherbacks will definitely get big, well-funded, international conservation organizations interested in us. I hope we keep finding them. I have yet to see an actual turtle in my site but I set a batch of eggs in the vivero myself! I hope I did it right and that the turtles don't die.
The turtle group, CTTC, made it through their first trial by fire when one of the directive members misappropriated funds. Really blatantly... like... really stupidly... shockingly... wow. What happened was that we are working with Conservation International and they wanted us to make some food for their workshop and they needed a place to stay as well. The directive agreed to sell plates at $2 but the individual proceeded to make a separate arrangement with CI for $4. So half the money essentially disappeared. The member maintains that she moved the money around for lodging and a separate, second meal, and that none of the extra went into her pocket. This was supported by a handwritten "receipt" written by herself. I like to think she really was acting with good intentions and was ignorant of how bad what she was doing looked from the outside, especially since she is the one who essentially set up the reformation of the turtle conservation group. In the end her "crime" is not so much robbery as acting in secret, which is something we will correct at our next meeting when we write the bylaws. The icing on the cake was that Conservation International actually offered to pay the CTTC what they should have received on the $4. In other words, not only were they misled, THEY OFFERED TO PAY FOR OUR MISTAKE! This was super embarrassing for all of us and we declined. It was quite a gesture though. They will not let us fail. They are inviting a national news channel to do a story on us too! Look for us on your Panama stataion, I guess.
Working hard has gotten me through the spazz-out I had over the AIDS day event and things are going well. On top of all of the stuff I've mentioned I also met with my community to choose a course from INADEH, a government agency that offers a wide variety of classes within communities. The people have spoken and they chose beauty classes. Good for me because I just gave myself a pretty terrible haircut.
I was going to go around and sign more people up for the class yesterday but I had another one of those migraines and couldn't get out of bed all day. I'm fine today I just wish I knew why I keep getting them. I thought it was connected to this sinus problem but the last Dr. I saw gave me some medicines that cleared up my sinuses so now I don't know... Also, my top left wisdom tooth has broken through the gum and that's kind of hurting too so I'll probably get those yanked out when I'm in Panama the 13th to do PML training. In funny (sort-of) health-related news the last time we went to look for turtle eggs, I had to walk barefoot because of mud and I stepped on a giant thorn. I thought I had taken the spine out but it was still hurting a week later so I grabbed a pin, tweezers, and matches to do some campo surgery and when I started digging around in the pad of my foot it started pussing... A LOT! Like a tablespoon or more there. It was pretty awesome. I squeeze and then all of the sudden a quarter inch long piece of thorn shoots out!!! How did I walk around on that for a week? I felt much better. Not as cool as bot-flies or anything but I wish I had video so you all could appreciate the wonders of the body's immune system.
Anyway, as I mentioned I was selected to help with PML (Project Management Leadership) for the new group. I'm really excited because when I was a participant, it totally turned my service around. It might have helped me even more than my counterpart in terms of getting confident and getting priorities straight.
I hope everything is going well with all you readers. I'd love some comments about what's going on with you. Until next time, much love. I'll leave you all with a picture from Hailey's birthday celebration. We're watching a trailer for an awesome movie about aliens and cowboys and I like that everyone it laughing. I don't know... it's cute