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

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Thanksgiving 2007 was a good holiday. We sincerley missed our family and friends, but we managed to have a good time. Of course, Thanksgiving is a USA holiday - so Panamanians do not celebrate it. That is why we choose to leave our site and celebrate this first major holiday with other volunteers.

For Thanksgiving, we went to the highlands of Panamá, near Vulcan Baru. It was about 2000 meters in elevation, so it was cool, at times like a late September day, and we enjoyed a fleece and a fire at night. Along with 3 other couples from our training group, we rented a cabin located in the mountains. THe cabin is nestled on private land between two national parks - Amistad and Vulcan Baru. The purchase of the land pre-dated the creation of the parks...thus it is a beatiful and secluded spot. Below are photos of the cabin - yup, there was good reason to be jealous. I should also mention that the cost was a good bit more than a typical panimanian (or PCV without thier friends) would pay.

The cabin had a woodburning stove for heat - and we really needed it. It also had 2 futons and a King size bed...so while the photo above was taken as a joke two couples did end up sharing the bed (the floor was too cold to consider). It also had a small kitchen and two tiny baths. But the real beauty lay in the beauty outside and the friendships inside.
There are 8 different species of hummingbird that live near that cabin...and many more in Panama as a whole. I think that I got to see 5-6 of those that live near the cabin. It was easy to see them because the feeders were always just buzzing with them.

Cera Punto is a pretty community. It is part of the Panamanian region that grows the most vegitables and food products because the climate there is cooler (higher altitude) and the soil is rich due to the volcanic histore. This agriculture makes use of some shockingly steep hills. I don´t understand how they do it...or how they keep soil erosion from being a problem (possibly they just put up with the erosion and don´t work to prevent it).

The Lodge Los Ketzels in Cera Punto has very generously hosted 100 plus PCVs for Thanksgiving for many years. They even allow us to rent out thier kitchen and work together to cook the Thanksgiving meal. THis year we cooked 4 (25lb) turkeys, 3 large hams, 2 sacos of potatoes, 40lbs each of brocolli and coliflower, and heaven knows how many sqash, loaves of bread for stuffing, veggie loafs, and desserts. It took 2 days to prep and cook and dinner was served right on time with food left over at the end (even though everyone was groaning they were so full). Kevin headed the Turkey prep crew (I was to work it but they got them done as fast as I predicted and I missed most of the process...last year the Turkeys took 8 hours and made everything late). Below is Kevin with his crew and final product. When asked how he knew so much about turkey cooking he sited his lovely wife as his teacher. However...I would like to note for the history books that I did not teach him to cook salad.This is what the final buffet looked like. We really didn´t have enough room to wiggle once everyone had food.

The day after Thanksgiving we spent the morning on the 3 Cascades hike near the cabin. It was a lovely short hike that managed to have plently of challenge.

All in all, we had a lovely Thanksgiving. We will be staying in our community for Christmas and celebrating it with our new neighbors and friends there. I expect Christmas to be good as well, but a bit quieter.
I hope you all are enjoying the holiday season. It has been impossible for me to belive that Christmas is just around the corner. The weather certainly does not help me to believe it.
Love to all.
April and Kevin


AAM4000 said...

it must be such an interesting time for you both, the view looks beautiful. our thoughts and prayers are with you two, and im sure that your grandpa is in a better place now.


Todd said...

Glad you had a good thanksgiving.

Sorry to hear about Granddad Dierks

April Cropper said...

Thanks guys. YOu are both very sweet. Please Hi/Hug your families for me.