Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Trip Home Part I

We got to take the boat out on Lake Champlain in some nice weather. If you look closely, you can see the Green Mountains in the background.

Here's our new niece Amber! She and her mother and father, Tina and Ed, are doing fine in their Maine home.

Matt and Lisa had a nice visit at 505 with Gramma and several aunts and uncles and cousins. It was great to be there!

Here we are at Cale and Christie's wedding, also in the Green Mountains. We had lots of fun and ate lots of great food, especially cheese.

Cait, Mason, Father R. and Scott posed for a photo after Mason's Baptism. We are very proud godparents!

This photo shows one of the government buildings in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, and some of the mountains that ring the city. Our trip there from the border by bus was very scenic and quite comfy.

This is the street scene outside our hotel. San Jose is nice, and the weather was very refreshing, with temps in the 60s and 70s.

We had a great trip home for our vacation. These are some photos of the first leg of our trip. It's been great seeing our families and friends in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine! Good times and awesome food! Today we're headed to Tim's wedding in the Twin Cities and we can't wait to get there. We'll post more info and photos soon. Happy summer and thanks for all the hospitality!
Panama update: our little baby host-brother now has a name! He's Adam, just like our pal from Texas.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dar-ing the Luz

Here's our new host brother! He spent a week or so in the hospital, but they say he's doing OK, thanks be to God.

Glenny and her new brother came over to say Hola. He's really cute, but he doesn't have a name yet. It can be really difficult picking a name in Panama.

Reina and the baby greeted neighbors one afternoon in front of our house. They were watching dad Arturo lay blocks on the walls of our addition. The girl on the right, Angelica, is a cousin and one of our favorite English students.

Our next door neighbor, landlady and good friend Reina gave birth, or as they say in Spanish, "Ella dio la luz." Translated directly, Reina gave the light on June 6 (my niece Devin's Birthday) to a beautiful baby boy, who as of this posting has yet to be named!

I've been thinking a lot about childbirth because several of my best friends recently had kids and our sisters are now new moms (bienvenidos a Mason and Amber!). In the campo of Panama, things work a bit differently than in the city or in the US. For example, in the city (where I've sat in a lot of doctors' waiting rooms) tons of parental magazines advertise the latest and greatest super-dooper must-have car seats, cribs, strollers, bottles, breast pumps, high chairs and toys. Recently I read an article in the daily Panamanian newspaper La Prensa about how difficult and expensive it is to plan a baby shower because of all the 21st century gear the baby will need. In the campo, babies sleep in cloth hammocks hanging in living rooms and on porches. As they get older, many kids play in handmade wooden playpens, with smooth sticks as bars.

Also in the campo, some babies don't get names before they leave the hospital, or for many weeks after. Other volunteers have told me that part of the reason they don't name babies right away is because they are superstitious. The name thing must have something to do with fearing the baby might die soon after birth, which still happens too often in this part of the world.

Glenny, Reina's teenage daughter, told us that the baby had been crying a lot at night and therefore it must be the witches (brujas) creeping into the baby's room and bothering him. So she placed a few charms around the room to keep the witches out.

One night her brother Boli came into our house wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Our site is a sauna and there is never any reason to even think about wearing long sleaves, let alone a sweatshirt. We asked him if he was feeling sick. He told us that no he was not sick, but that he had just been holding the baby and at night or in the early morning one has to wear a sweatshirt while holding the baby because if your skin is cool that coolness can tranfser to the baby's skin in the form of a cold spirit from the sky.

But Gracias a Dios, the baby is fine and really cute. Older brother Arturito (Little Arturo), when asked how the baby was after visiting the hospital, said, "Es blanquito (he's really white)!" They love little white kids.
Since he doesn't have a name yet, we've spent many afternoons coming up with some possibilities: Antonio, Juan Jose, Cristobal, Alejandro, Frederico, Marco, Conrad. When we decide on one we like, Boli will go over to his mom to see what she thinks. They like our options, but they're still deciding. The baby can't have a name that someone else in town already has, which is why you see a lot of made-up names (Yaxelys and Nellys are two pals of ours). Boli, whose name is Bolivar, wants his new little brother to be named Lex after Lex Luther from Superman. Boli pronounces it like lakes. They also like Alexis, but our town already has two of them.
Hopefully, el nino will have a name by the time we get home from the States. We leave for Leg I of our trip, a bus ride to San Jose, Saturday!