10 July 2009


I just got back from 3 weeks in the US but want to update as to what was going on in Panama before I left.

May and June were progressively more wet as the rainy season got really underway. Many days the Mamoni River that separates our reserve from the other villages and neighbors would flood after heavy rain making it impossible to cross without being whisked away. Our farm is looking really great and is getting a greenhouse to help with the excessive rain issues. We've been trying out spinach, mustard greens, and lettuce which will provide a much welcomed addition to the abundance of root vegetables. Sabine and Joel (neighbor/CREA employee) helped me to build a cage for the iguanas before I left. Apparently some of the eggs hatched while I was in the US but the weaker ones died. I'll find out this week how many have survived and then we'll decide how to proceed. I've been continuing English classes two days a week with six or so dedicated students and it's definitely been an adventure. I've brought back Bingo to help practice numbers/letters; should be fun! One fun day we got together a bunch of guys to clear the "road" between the village and our reserve. Twelve guys hit the road early around 7 am with machetes and Sabine and I carried two live roosters to the village to cook lunch for the workers. It was quite the social event and everyone stayed late into the afternoon recounting stories.

When I left the reserve I had to say good bye to Sabine since she returned to Germany while I was in the US. But she has decided to come back to Panama in August and stay until at least December which is very exciting!

I had a great visit home and packed quite a lot into the three weeks. The morning after I arrived, Forrest and I left for a week-long road trip to Virginia Beach (he had a job interview), Louisville, KY (my friend from study abroad got married), Cincinnati, OH (where Forrest grew up), and Garrison NY to spend a night with my grandparents.

From there we went to Nantucket for a couple days and to Haverhill to visit high school friends. Fourth of July we stayed in Falmouth and enjoyed the Woods Hole parade and Falmouth fireworks.

Now I'm back in Panama for a much shorter time than I originally thought. I'm going to Kent, Connecticut for 10 days in August to chaperone a girl from my village in Panama to visit a boarding school. Marvelwood school brings students every January to the CREA reserve and provides scholarships to 3 girls in my village to continue with middle school. We're planning a trip to Falmouth for a night so she can see our house and meet my family. Then I'll be back in Panama until November.

So I'll be up in the reserve starting Monday for 3 weeks or so and will have more news when I come back to the city.

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