Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The stove is much-needed because the cooks are using these fogones, fires surrounded by rocks, behind the restaurant. They have to breathe in a lot of smoke, and the smoke even blows through the dining area at times. The ladies who run the operation are looking forward to using the stove after it cures in 30 days. Co-op members were very kind to us, and they fed us lunch and breakfast. Muy rico!
We posed for this photo with part of our work group. As you can see, the stove is in a new area with a zinc roof. They'll install a chimney when they find the proper metal pipe or other material. This project was a breeze because they had all the supplies ready at the start of the day, and the whole posse worked very hard. Our friend Ellen (second from left), a volunteer in the new tourism and English teaching group, is helping the co-op.
Lisa and Ashley mixed up some mud and sand to coat the outside of the stove so it will look bien pritty. When we were done, it did resemble a huge chocolate cake. We were especially pleased because the stove is in the center of town, so lots of potential stove builders will see it. Let's hope it works well!
The area where we were working is one of our favorite places in Panama. The weather's mas fresco, the mountains are beautiful, they grow coffee here, and the people are really nice like they are in the rest of our province.
This big barn is up in the Comarca Ngabe-Bugle, the indigenous area way west of us. Lisa was up there assisting with a coffee/business seminar run by our good friend Ed from Boston. Ed is the Peace Corps Panama coffee coordinator, and he works with producers to promote organic methods, better business practices, etc. Lisa will return to the Comarca for two more sessions of the seminar.
Thirty-seven people participated in the seminar, including this woman wearing the traditional Ngabe dress. She's seen here with a drawing of her finca (farm). Teams did drawings to help articulate plans for their farming activities. Lisa and Ashley also gave charlas on time management and how to hold effective meetings.
The two young ladies in the center of this photo, Viviana and Yaleyka, are members of our town's Ecoclub. While Matt was in the city working on the PC magazine, they and two other young people accompanied Lisa to a big Ecoclub seminar. Dozens of kids were on hand to form a regional alliance of clubs and discuss environmental protection projects. Participants were given vegetables to plant in their hometowns.
Mateo and Adam posed recently for this photo in our living room. We're trying to put together a big photo album for the family.
In other news, we returned home from the stove project and delivered talks and slideshows to several families on how to make these stoves. Our calendar is getting booked up again, and that's the way it ought to be. Time is flying down here, and we can't believe it's almost October. Happy Birthday, Caitlin!
We forgot to mention in previous posts that Irving Saladino won the Olympic gold medal in the long-jump. Felicidades! He's an amazing athlete, and the Panamanian people are extremely proud. Fortunately, we got to watch him win live on local TV.
And one more news item before we go: the country's largest political party, the PRD (Partido Revolucionario Democratico), had its presidential primary recently after many months of high-profile campaigning. Balbina Herrera defeated Panama City Mayor Juan Carlos Navarro and several other candidates. The election is in May.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Lisa kept the vote total during the election of officers at the annual meeting. Voting took forever, as every one of the 150 members who showed up voted for 3 candidates by stating their names out loud, in front of everyone.
This shot looks back at the mainland from the beach. The boats, or lanchas, in the background are built by one of the guys whose family fed us during the weekend. We had really great fried corvina, the best fish down here, not to mention excellent rice and beans and fried pork.
Boli helped Lisa clear the area for their new vegetable garden (huerto). People love to cut grass and weeds with a machete, stooped over so the blade cuts almost parallel to the ground. It´s not much fun.
Monday, September 1, 2008
We visited this cool park in Minneapolis the day after Tim and Jen's wedding. Jen's dad led an awesome tour of the Twin Cities.
The tour included a stop at the totally huge Mall of America. We bought a great Frisbee here for the kids back in Panama.
Erin and Abby (above) and dad Russ were in Minneapolis to see Erin's brother, so we got to have a long visit.
Matt's has the best burgers in the world! The "Juicy Lucy" is made with cheddar cheese inside the burger. Here we also chowed down on big baskets of fries. This is a classic place and a must for any Twin Cities visitor.
Here's Scott, Lisa, and Cait during Tim and Jen's rehearsal dinner in St. Paul. We had awesome Italian food that night.
Nell, Martha, and Libby posed for a photo at the Italian place. The girls had a great time joking around with Lisa.
John (left), Tim's dad and Matt's uncle, posed with siblings (l-r) Jean, Mim, Johanna, Margaret, Maura, Mary, Jim, and Martha. The campus where the wedding was held is really nice, and St. Paul in general is a cool place.