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

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Swear-In Day

So today is the big day.

In about 2 hours we will be heading to Panama Viejo (old Panama city) for the swear in ceremony and officially become volunteers (we have been trainees up until now). The Ambassador and Panamanian dignataries will be there and local press. It will be very official, but not very big.

After that we will be full fledged volunteers. This means that we will (for the most part) be free to schedule our own work, life and free time! Training has been hard at time because there has been very little feeling of control of my own life. The introverted part of me is tired. Living with host families is great for learning, but boy does it leave me tired.

After Swear In we get 2 days of free time and then we head into our island site to start living and working there on Sunday. On one hand we are ready to go and get started, and on the other hand I could sure do with a couple more days of down time.

So how am I feeling about Peace Corps right now? I am happy, tired, glad to be here, occasionaly fustrated with training, occasionally very happy with training. I am loving the expereince, but not looking forward to hauling all my stuff around on Sunday. I am looking forward to exploring the island and learning more about the community there. I am not looking forward to the chitra - or no-see-ums that bit us up last time we were there. I am very much looking forward to finding a house and setting up house keeping of my own in a couple of months. I am happy to be here. This was the right choice for me, I am happy to be spreading my horizons and learning new things.

I would like to say a quick thank you to our host family in Santa Clara. I know that there were occasionaly rough times (learning a language always makes getting to know people harder) but there were many good times, and we learned a lot at your house.

Also, just a fun note for the bird lovers out there: we got to see a Harpy Eagle yesterday. He is a captive education bird with a program that raises and releases Harpys in Panama and Belize. We even got to see him fly. VERY cool! Harpys are about the size of a Bald Eagle or a bit bigger for females. Thier wing span is not quite as big, but they are heavier and stronger (more lbs pressure in talons). They eat primarily sloths. Kind of funny to me that this majestic power consumes one of the slowest animals for 60% of it's diet.

And now we're out of time and off to Swear-In!

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