Saturday, March 14, 2009


I’ve been working on this blog entry for months now, but each time I touch upon it, it just doesn’t come out right.

I use this blog to sum up life in PC, and my work, but how can I really explain the day-to-day of living in this little village in the jungle? They say to paint a picture is worth a thousand words. If only these stories can begin to do so….

-Not too long ago, I was pasear-ing (visiting) at my friend Andrea’s house. Suddenly, a big, black blob hit my head, fell into my lap, and then to the floor, and scurrying away. As it scurried away, I notice it’s a big, NASTY fat rat that fell from the rafters right on top of me. On putting it all together, I screamed absolute bloody murder, waking up Andrea’s 5 year-old son. Andrea’s husband, 3 grown brothers, mother and little 5 year-old just busted a gut laughing at me, spazzing and swatting helplessly into the air after the fact. Months later, its still one of their favorite stories to tell.

-The community phone is right next to my hut, and also right by my old host family’s house. Everybody makes the mad dash to answer it when it rings (how exciting!). One day, while in my host family’s house, I decided to make that dash. As I sprinted across the little wood house, with a big “CRACK,” my left leg shot right through the floorboards below me. I was completely stuck, one leg under the house, one leg inside the house, crunched between the remaining floorboards. My host mother and host sisters rushed to me and helped me out of the floor, very worried. But as soon as they patched up my leg (which later turned all shades of purple) and assured that I was ok, they died laughing. My poor host father had to cut wood to patch up the floor the next day, and he wouldn’t stand to let me help him, even with a very guilty conscience.

Where else…

-does the village pet, a giant, 20 pound iguana, eat your personal garden? I had been slaving over my little babies, tomato, pepper and cucumber sprouts, like crazy for a month. I came back from being outside the village and found big iguana-mouth sized bites out of them.

-can you have a heart-to-heart with a botanical doctor on a beach in the rainforest? I remember a day when I was feeling low (I think the village families were fighting and I was frustrated with my students). I went to the river for a time out, right around dusk. Suddenly from behind me appeared one of the village elders, our botanical doctor. Quietly, he sat beside me. After a few moments, he points up at the moon, and asks me “Alla en tu pueblo, se ve este tambien (la luna)?” (Translation: There, in your village, can you see this moon too?”) It was such a simple, honest question, and it immediately brought me back to the simplicity and serenity of this little village and its people. I quickly got over my problems, and fell back in love with Embera Drua.

Some happenings around around Embera Drua...

Septic Tank Project (fancy new bathrooms to advertise to tourists!)

English Class Graduation (I was so proud!)

Computer and Printer Donation (so exciting!)

Other fun...
Cooking an Iguana (please don't send PETA after me)

Where do you think beat up old baby carriages go? They're recycled for children's amusement in my village.

One of my favorite little I love this one. Just makes my day, every day.


At the end of January, I was lucky enough to hop on a parent funded Caribbean vacation! It was just Mom, Dad and myself, cruising the Caribbean seas for a week straight. It was really quite the shock; within just a few days I swiftly transported myself from my humble jungle abode to a vacation experience that embodied excess in every sense of the word. Shock aside, the food, booze and family time provided a much needed escape, and some time away helped me gain a bit of perspective and recharge my batteries before heading back to Panama.

Below are some picture of the trip: Mom and Dad sumo-ing in life preservers, visiting the islands of St. Maarten and Grenada, ATVing in Aruba.

Right after my vacation, I attended a Peace Corps led leadership seminar with a community counterpart in the province of Cocle. Andrea, my counterpart, is our village’s second chief, head of our women’s association and also a very close friend. Andrea had never traveled west of Pamana City, and I think the seminar really helped to open her eyes and strengthen her confidence as a leader. She’s very young (23!), but is inherently such a leader and so well respected in our village. She’s incredibly charismatic- at the seminar she made friends from across the country and even had half the ladies there up singing and dancing in Embera during the cultural exchange night! I was so proud of her, and so glad to share her and a bit of Embera Drua with other PCVs and their counterparts.