Panamerican Proceeding

Lend me an ear and you will hear the rants and raves of this volunteer. "Nothing is stronger than the heart of a volunteer" says Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle (parden the pun), but perhaps no one is crazier either. Why do we care so much? Herein lies a glimpse of my Pan-American experience.

My Photo
Location: Bocas Del Toro, Panama Este, Panama

The proceeding 'Panamerican' is a Master's International Student and Peace Corps Volunteer. Disclaimer: Contents are the author's viewpoints only, (need to stress only), and many may have been written on particularly poor days.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Insect Repellent Users Manual

If the cat poops on your wooden floor again and you don't have anything to clean it up with, I recommend spraying bug spray all over the area and then lighting it on fire. This technique is always recommended. Be careful the fire doesn't spread to the duck poop though.

If pesty fruit flies are hovering your green bananas and don't seem deterred by the sweep of an outstreched hand and some vulgarness, spraying your food with bug spray is not recommended. At least not Deep Woods Off since that doesn't deter fruit flies either. It may, however, increase the savorness of said green bananas.

If your pits gots da stinks, bug spray can mask the smell for exactly one hour. By this time though, you should be doubting whether it pays to ever clean up or wash your clothes again.

Bug spray should not be used as a substitute for clothes. It may however, be used as a substitute for shoes.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bigoté contest

I can´t remember if I posted this in the past or not but it´s worth it again if I did. Did that make sense? So on our first two weeks in the campo back a few months ago, a few of us really cool guys decided growing moustaches would make us even cooler. Tom Selleck is cool right? Anyways, the rules were this: you have two weeks, go nuts and be ugly. From left, me, Ryu, Jack, Colin, Joe and Kevin. Ryu is just a sleezy rat ´stacher, Jack looked like a french inspector, Colin looked like Mike Ditka, Joe looked like a old sleeze ball, perhaps from Italy, and Kevin was either a 1970´s gym teacher or someone from Chips. I was just plain ugly and scary.

more pictures

Sunset on the Santa Clara beach. Pacific side.
Celebrating Independence Day with presentations in the school. The kids were so shy, it was really cute. I made sure to sit in the front row and make faces at them as they were trying to remember their lines.
Pinata crazyness with candy and flour. We teased they all looked like Grandmas.
The view from my hammock at Santa Clara. I could have stayed there for two years.
A typical meal. The beverage is grinded up cacao, sometimes mixed with sugar, and water. Best when served hot. On the right is boiled green bananas and a hunk of mystery later confirmed to be a part of a fish head.
The new board of directors for my Panama Verde group. Panama Verde is an environmental conservation group for youngsters 12-20ish. From left to right, Rolando (pres), José (vice), Maribel (sect), Milciado (tres), Oscár (vocal), Fabío (vocal), & their goofy instuctor Unima. Notice the hardass butterfly tattoo on my arm. No mom, it´s not permanent - in fact, the bugs already ate it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Swear-in Ceremony. Oct 26, 2006

The Enviromental Health Gang and our fearless leader Greg, and instructor Tess.
This is the Community Economic Development Gang. The other head of the of the monster.
Group 58 - All 33 of us I think.
The Bocas Del Toro group and the Pennisula folks. Ryu, Colin, Joe, Brandon, Melissa, Jack, Mo and Kevin.
Group 58. We actually thought we were funny.
The EHers. We survived each other for the past 10 weeks. Aren´t these captions corny? None of these pics show off the cool tie I borrowed from Joe though.

Halloween Party

Whatta get when you mix 28 new PC Volunteers, a party called Halloween, zero money for customs but a lot of money for booze?


So I´ve been driving myself crazy. These last couple of days I´ve been super cranky. Not for any one good reason, but for a million little ones. It´s just hard work. (Sound familiar?) I´ve been daydreaming blog entries lately, and let me tell ya, the titles were a lot cooler than ¨Hey.¨ The problem is, I took me about 3 days worth of work to get to the city, another 3 days to get through all my inboxes, and I haven´t even begun posting pictures which usually takes another 2-3 days.

A typical day:
I wake up too early by my standards and ridiculously late by theirs (7am). I run down the hill to the latrine, usually praying that I will make it there in time. I clean the latrine everytime before I use it. I walk back up the hill, hoping they won´t ask me to work. I stall and search for the BBC on my shortwave. Sometimes I convince myself to do pushups and situps. I take a bucket shower, never really feeling clean. I eat breakfast, usually consisting of boiled green banana soup with a possible hunk of hard chicken (from the day before) or fish. I have no idea where the fish comes from. I dress, regarding the rashes on my shins. I participate in activities, stay in my room and read, study Spanish somewhere, putz around the house, visit other houses, go crazy. Most days I eat lunch. Most days I take another shower. Most days I´m ready to escape to my room and not come out by 6pm. Some nights I teach a little English by candle light. I sleep in a hammock, I love my hammock.

I´ve survived The Day for the Dead, Independence from Columbia, The Los Santos Uprising, an American Missionary in my village showing a propaganda movie, 2 Panama Verde meetings, 2 Aquaduct meetings, and several stupid questions. My community has survived me and my even stupidier questions and my horrible answers. I´ve given an impromtu speech in Spanish at a cemetary, lead a prayer for the evangelicals, sang in English, lead activities for children, and explained the plight of the Native American. I´ve visited every house and wrote down every single person that lives here. This week I´m visiting agencies, making a map of my town from GPS points, collecting garbage and batteries with my Panama Verde group, making tomales as a fundraiser, visisting the island for the Foundation of Bocas Del Toro, and the laundry. I´m currently reading a book about globalization but it was written in 1990 by the World Bank so it´s more comical than anything else.

I was a little surprised to hear that Daniel Ortega won, not at all surprised about the dems retaking the house, and it´s about time Bush got rid of Rummy. For the first time in 6 years, the U.S. seemed to unite at the polls. (Insert lame duck joke here.) Ok, let me work on those pictures now...