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

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One Year More

As we just passed one year since swear-in as official volunteers (trainees or aspirantes before that) and have one year more before our COS (close of service) date, we figured it was a good time to think about what we look forward to in the final year.

Things we are looking forward to:

  • Eating our First Tomato from our tomato plants: April started about 30 seedlings, and we have 15 to 20 in the ground, so we are hoping for a bumper crop; keep watching for updates on what works and what doesn't
  • Making our First Estufa Lorena in site: we have about two or three families interested right now and collecting materials, we just need to get everything together and actually build one
  • Building an Estufa Lorena in the school: we need a working model at someone's house first so everyone knows what it really is and really entails, but we'd love to get the smoke out of the school kitchen
  • Visiting the Kuna Yala comarca (autonomous zone): we are planning on going there in September for our Tenth Anniversary for lots of white sand beaches and snorkeling
  • A Visit from April's folks: currently planned for the end of January / beginning of February, and possibly including Grandma Dierks
  • Planting all the Trees currently in bags behind the house: we hope to get a junta (working party) of 10 to 20 people organized for sometime in early September
  • Teaching in Coiba: April delivered her proposal today to ANAM, the environmental agency, to visit Coiba National Marine Park for two week stints with their park rangers to provide training on resource interpretation (how to present the unique qualities of a location to vistors)
  • School Garden growth: the kids are really interested in what is planted and have learned a lot about how and why it is planted too
  • Visiting Baro Colorado Island / the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, in the middle of Lake Gatun in the Panamá Canal: The Smithsonian Institute has several offices in Panamá to do research and preservation of biologically unique sites. Barro Colorado Island was formed when the Chagras River was dammed to form Lake Gatun and has been a wildlife refuge since. Visitors are sometimes allowed to accompany scientists on the boat there and can wander the paths and view amazing wildlife
  • Learning to Gritar and Salomar: hard to describe, it is a very common way of communicating here while working in the fields, and sounds kind of like yodeling. You have to hear it and so we'll hopefully put up a video of either someone good or of us. (We haven't learned yet because most of them are too embarrassed to teach us when asked.)
  • Watching Panamá Election 2009 here in Panamá: the next Panamanian president, respresentatives, and local offices (all levels of government) will be elected in May 2009. April is already taking pictures of campaign signs.
  • Watching US Election 2008 from here in Panamá: we are glad to only get to see news every couple of weeks, as the minute nit-pickings on the candidates and their campaigns would get old quickly I think, but we are planning on coming out mid-October to get and send our Absentee Ballots and then again for November 4-5 to watch whatever coverage we can get here. (We do have CNN, bad as it is, in the motel, and the cable package in motels frequented by PCVs in other cities even has BBC and CNN International, so we'll find someplace to hear all the latest on which state went which way and how Chad is doing.)
  • Thanksgiving with over 100 other PCVs from Panamá: April and I have been asked to help run the kitchen again; nothing like success (read: a full yummy tummy) to be appreciated.
  • Possible other visits from friends: Linda, Tabassum, Kori, and Kristin have all expressed interest; anyone else?

So it will be a full year, just like our first one was. We are very much looking forward to it!


Mom C. said...

What a wonderful list of things to look forward to over the next year! Enjoy every minute of it. The time could fly by.
Love, Mom C.

Todd said...

Congrats on getting done another year!

Might also be interested in coming down too, but have to check my schedule and everything so I don't know for sure

vagabondfeiges said...

Very interesting blogs this month. The house is really coming along. Also liked your diagrams, very professional.

Just wondering if the folks on the island can vote on the island or if they will have to go to the mainland to vote. How interested are the isla residents in politics?