Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Volunteer Visit

Hey Everyone!!

On Friday Matt and I are going to an indigenous site 6 hours away by bus on the west side of the country. We´ll stay with a married couple for 3 nights and get a chance to see what they do. They are both in Matt´s environmental health program, and they´ve been here a year. Right now we´re in small city near our training town, and we´re about to go the grocery store and out to eat. We´ll post pictures of our trip next week. In the meantime we´re both healthy, happy and well nourished, gracias a Dios! (Lisa has a minor heat rash on both of her arms, but that´s to be expected!)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Some pictures

My Spanish class has 3 other students in it, but on this day a couple of classes got together to play bingo.
The back porch to our house and the chickens!

We have lots of eggs!

The front porch. Lisa looking very happy to go to school for the afternoon.

The view from over our house, which is built into the side of a hill.

Our house. Matt likes to sit in the hammock and watch it rain.

Our roommate!

Our room and US Army bug net.

A diablo rojo. All the buses here used to be US school buses. Most rides cost between 25 and 75 cents.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Host Family

Hey everyone. It looks like we´ll only have internet access on Fridays for the next couple of months. I´m in an internet cafe right now in the closest city to the small town where Matt and I are living. Our family is super nice and from what we can tell a bit better off than most in the community. We for instance, have a flush toilet, which is a huge deal. Anyway, we live with a Mom, Dad, and their three sons ages 10, 13, and 14. We have our own room with a door that locks, but we don´t need a lock. They´re all so sweet. Our Spanish is really coming along. We have a difficult time understanding our host father because Panamians generally speak really fast and cut off the ends of words. Our host Mom, however is so sweet.

We are eating well. Lots of rich and chicken, and ah, fried items. The family has 20 chickens and a dog named Snoopy, who lives outside. He´s got some serious fleas and howls every night (along with the rest of the dogs in the village) at 1 am. Lovely. The rooster starts his singing routine at 3 am, so we go to bed at 8 or 9 hoping to sleep until 1 or 3. But honestly, that´s my only gripe. Everything else is great. We´re getting a lot of exercise. We live at the top of two steep hills and have to walk all around the village to get to our language and technical classes.

Ah, I feel like there´s so much to share, but I don´t have enough time. I´ll try to post some photos either today (if the computer will accept my camera) or next week. There´s only 1 pay phone in the village and no internet...

Also, this comment is for Dr. Rinella...they´re all freakin´ Yankee fans down here because of Rivera!!!!! Que lastima. And, I can´t say where I am, but that certain someone has a house near where we are...but in a gated, heavily secured area (so I´m told).

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Training, August 15-18

Hey everyone! Tomorrow we're moving to where we'll spend the next 3 months. We'll get to meet our host family, finally. And, Matt and I will live together (there was a possibility we wouldn't.)

Yesterday we had language interviews as well as health and program interviews. And, of all things, a swim test.

Today, we got to go on fieldtrips! We both went to towns East of the Canal. I got to see a savings and loan cooperative and Matt got to see many composting latrines and a spring-fed aquaduct system. We ate lunches with our respective groups and then headed back.
Matt took the camera with him and took some pictures.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New England and Staging

Hola todos! Directly above is the view from our room.

After a wonderful trip to New Hampshire and Maine, where we had a great time at Ace and Emily's wedding, we're at our orientation. We're at a hotel near Washington, DC and it's really nice. The program here was really well done, and we learned a lot. We studied the Peace Corps mission, safety, culture, and development strategies. We also learned some neat trivia, like Bob Villa of This Old House served in the Peace Corps in Panama. Everyone we met has been really nice, and we're sure we've made many long-term friends. There's around 45 of us from a few dozen states. We had some really good food, including Ethiopian and steamers and fried oysters. Tomorrow morning we leave for Panama! Thanks to everyone back home for helping us prepare for this huge adventure. And thanks to everyone who has emailed me and Matt.