Hola muchachos y muchachas!
So I am here in Panama and its only been 10 days but it feels like 8 months. So far i LOVE Panama. It is increadibly beautiful, tropical with gorgeous mountains and palm trees and its awesome. And the people are super nice and friendly and have good senses of humor. My favorite Panameño phrase so far is ¿Que sopa mopri? which is like ¿Que paso primo? but they like to mix up their syllables for fun.
Right now we are in the training community of Santa Clara. Just SASers, which is my group (SAS = Sustainable Agriculture Systems). I live with a super awesome host family. The father, Horacio, has a rockin do rag with his name on it. Iliana is my madre, and I have four siblings, Jenifer (13), Emir (9), Tamara (17) and Eileen (15). They are great. The food is all deep fried. Most mornings I have a deep fried hot dog and deep fried plantains. For lunch the other day I had cornflakes, strawberry flavored cookies, and coke. So much for fitting into my carhartts. We watch a lot of telenovellas, and also Hannah Montana and Es Tan Raven and Yo Soy Betty la Fea.
Training is going really well. I really like PCs approach to developement. Instead of giving people what we think they need, the goal is to empower them to get the things they think they need using resources they have access to. Our bosses are Aimee, who is awesome and really really sweet, and Jean, who is only 25 but knows more than pretty much everyone Ive ever met before. They are great and I am really excited to be working with them. we got our machetes, and we learned how to sharpen them at training the other day. Then we learned how to hack open coconuts to drink the coconut milk. It was badass. We are also growing a garden and raising chickens, both for our big fiesta at the end of training.
I never thought I would go into PC and need to buy nicer clothes, but thats how it turns out. Panamanians dress really nicely, and I turned up WAY underdressed. Predictably I suppose, all teh other trainees were fancier than me. Oh well. Ill catch on maybe. You may have noticed that I am not using apostrophes. I cant find them on this keyboard. There is an ñ where the apostraphe is supposed to be.
The other trainees are super cool peeps. I get along really well with pretty much everyone. Mayas friend Sylvie is the best. There is also a guy who was a morticians assitant and a girl who packed her things in a five gallon bucket. So yeah, I think well get along. My spanish is coming along pretty well. My family speaks no english and we have class for 3 hours a day, so Im picking it up quickly. I can communicate enough to get my point across and understand the gist of most everything that goes down.
If you are my parents you should probably skip to the next paragraph. I LOVE teh diablos rojos here. They are AWESOME. They are like chicken buses, but way more pimped out. Peoplke get really serious with them. They are retired school buses that are painted all over with fantasy-tatoo-graphiti type decorations of all colors, mopstly neon. The insides have tassles, boas, purple pleather cushioning, flashing lights. They have names like Papa Romeo, Malcom X, Pretty, All In, and Baby Face. They think nothing of careening around clif corners and driving backwards at top speed up the sides of mountains. They are the most fun thing so far. Also I had a tarantulla in my house last night.
Welcome Back Mom and Dad!
So aside from teh diablos rojos, my two other favorite panamanian things are sancocho and duros. Sancocho is this DELICIOUS (thankfully not deep fried) soup made with rice, chicken, yucca, and some other root veggies that donçt have names in english. I found the apostrophe! We had it at this rural village in a hut with fresh starfruit straight off the tree. My other favorite thing is Duros, which are like popsicles. They are fruit juice that they freeze in a bag and you buy it for 10 cents, bight off teh corner, and itçs like a slushie. They are THE BEST when you have sweated through all your clothes and you are hot and eternally damp and tired and your brain is too full of spanish and you have just awkwardly told your spanish teacher that you are sexually excited instead of normal excited. So Duros are the best. And you should ALL COME VISIT ME! Because Panam is definitely one of teh most beautiful countries i have ever seen and also super pretty pretty (which is cool in panamanian spanish).
Love you all! Write to me!