Where did I leave off?
I had INSERVICETRAINING for two weeks, which was a mix of all things. We learned about stoves, grants, and other fun peace corps stuff. We traveled to cold land full of pine trees way up high in Herrera.
That picture is of some ant hill dirt and chicken poop we were mixing up to make mud for the stoves.
Anyway, after this was over, I returned back to site for a few days. It felt strange to leave and strange to get back. I left again for my Regional meeting and the long awaited day Ryan´s flight got into Panama! We went back to my community the next day. We went climbing hills with some kids, to a spot where you can see Lago Gatún. We watched boats pass through the canal form a far. The kids found out they could get Ryan to run around like a maniac with them, so they had races all over the place. Ryan also played frisbee with the kids, which was really just him throwing the frisbee and them trying to catch it. They were jumping and screaming like crazy the whole time, and they would have played all day if we let them. I gave a charla about soil quality to the elementary and middle school students, to supplement their agropecuaria work in the garden. We watched the Sunday soccer games, we went to Tres Hermanas on my birthday for a religious festival (the arrival of a statue of their patron Saint Matthew), and on the last day we hiked up the Loma. We also spent lots of quality time in hamacas and drinking coffee at my host family´s house.
Now, for my vacation! We made the trek to Boquete, a journey that started at 3:30am. We got on the 4:30am chiva out of my site, to La Espiga where we got on a bus to David at 6am, got to David around 12,1pm, got to Boquete around 3pm, got to our hotel around 4pm, bam! The hotel was lovely, a little outside of the main town area of Boquete, and so peaceful. We went on a tour of a coffee farm at Café Ruiz, super chevere, delicious coffee.
We ate at lots of restaurants, explored gift shops, and so on. The day after the coffee tour, we went looking for the entrance to El Sendero Los Quezales, but ended up going on a different adventure. We saw signs for a waterfall near where we got of the bus, so we followed those. It was drizzling rain all day, and we didn´t see very many other people at all. We found the entrance to the trail and followed it. It was a privately maintained trail that lead to three waterfalls. It was lovely. Also, at the visitors center kind of place, the toilet had the BEST view, and no door! So you get to sit down and enjoy staring out at the mountains while you do your business.
After I finally got back to loving COOL weather and wearing scarfs, it was time to head back to Panama City. Yesterday we went to see the Miraflores locks, after a failed attempt to go to the Anthropology museum here, which was closed and apparently will be closed for a while. The locks were pretty impressive. They´re huge, obviously. There is a museum that you can walk through, and an observatory where you can look at the locks. We saw some small boats pass through.
Today I´m not sure where adventure will take us. We spent yesterday afternoon lazing around Albrook mall, escaping the rain. It feels funny to be a tourist here, but it is nice to relax. I´ve got all sorts of stuff going on when I get back. I have to start working more fervently with the group who wants to get a solar panel through a peace corps grant. I´m going to give them educational charlas about solar panels and work with them on a business plan for maintaining the panels. We´re also having a work day with ANAM to start vivero construction! I am excited, but I am approaching this project with trepidation. I hope that the women´s group can maintain themselves through the changes ANAM is bringing them. More to come on that later. For now….