April and Kevin in Kuna Yala, the northeast coast of Panamá

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Training & Raining

So yesterday we really got to get our hands dirty. And everything else for that matter. After weeks of mostly ¨classroom¨or lecture type trainings, we dug beds, made water diversion / erosion control ditches, and planted. About 30 minutes after we started, the skies opened and it poured. Agua sera, mucho agua, lots of names for it, but pretty much the same thing - we were soaked.

Typically, our trainings for Language and Technical work are held in ranchos, or palm frond covered huts with no walls. (We´ll try to get a picture for our next post.) They are quieter than the ´zinc´roofs on most of the houses, and generally work well, but we were getting tired of sitting in metal folding chairs on the mud (although mostly dry, the legs would still sink into it) and listening to how to plant, or how to perform a community assessment.

So we were excited to build beds, spread the borycachi (bocachi, with the name changed to relfect the tweaks of our Tech Trainer, Borys) we´d made, build a seedling nursery, and get blisters. Besides, the torrential rains helped us know how well we´d designed and implemented our canals guardar (erosion control / water diversion, or guard channels); otherwise, we wouldn´t have figured that out until it washed away our seeds. (Sometimes I wonder how tall Panamá must have been originally, looking at all the mud that washes down in every rain. I´m thinking Rocky Mountains high.)

So hopefully we´ll be around to see the results of our planting and building efforts; we have a couple of weeks of off-site training, so we may come back to beautiful beds of corn, rice, beans, and such just starting up. Either way, it will mostly come ripe just after we leave our training site for our real sites, a bit of a bummer; I would love a garden fresh salad.

Oh, and coming home that wet (I managed to not be red with mud, but had definate spots) for lunch, I figured I´d shower, put on dry clothes, eat, and put the wet ones back on for the rest of the day (on Saturdays, we don´t split the day half language, half technical). However, our host mother took my Tshirt to wash while we were eating. I grad another. I looked outside again, and now my socks were missing. Okay, I grabbed some others. I went outside to put my boots on, and they were getting washed. I had to explain that yes, I wanted to wear the wet boots, as I was going back to the mud. Obviously still some differences between cultures (or maybe just people?) that I haven´t fully figured out yet.

More later, hopefully after we find out our site on Wednesday!!!! We´re all excited!


dcropper said...

Your and April's descriptions of what you are doing and seeing are wonderful. I do think the story of the host mom taking your dirty clothes could be universal :)
Keep up the good work.
Love, Mom C.

vagabondfeiges said...

Great pics, great stories.

Love, Walt and MA

Todd said...

Great pictures and stories.

I know you commented on a few foods every once in a while, but whats your overall thoughts on the food you have eaten? Similar to ours or vastly different?

Kevin Cropper said...

Food thoughts (and this may become a full post at some point, for now just a quick response to Todd´s question):
We eat a lot of rice. Pretty much every lunch and dinner has a rice aspect. Different host families are giving different responses to the aspriantes, some have managed to get just cereal for breakfast, but we usually have something cooked. There was a lot of frying until April had a talk with our host mom about needing something else for her stomach and my cholesterol. Since then, we´ve had several salads. Lots of soups too. Last night we have a traditional meal of arroz con pollo and it was very good (it was supposed to be for Father´s Day, which is today here, but the family didn´t eat together :)
Okay, have to run for a bus, so will definately have to prepare a post on food later.

Todd said...

nice. and thanks for the answer