Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bocadillos, Burundangas y Batidos

Those are the names of three of my favorite things. Bocadillos are savory snacks, like these delicious faux cheetos called Conchitas. And burundanga is a panamanian word for sweet snacks, like cookies and icecream. Who doesnt love cookies and icecream? And duros of course, which are the best burundangas. And batidos are these super delicious fruit shakes, except a lot of panamanians like cornflakes in their milk shakes, and I cant say Im a fan of that.

Last weekend I made my host family pancakes on saturday morning, and I brought them home made maple syrup from vermont to eat with the pancakes. And you know what they put on top? American cheese. Right on top of the syrup. I may have died a little bit inside. They were surprised that I didnt want any on mine.

Mangos are still going strong, I average about 4 per day. I found the best tree in town and now I am a mango snob. I only eat the mangos off that tree, oh man they are so good i dont even have the words to describe it. Frisbee is still going strong, tons of neighborhood kids come and its a total riot. Also, I learned that their is a much better word for frisbee in spanish: ASTRODISCO. Put apparently you cant call it astrodisco ultimato or they laugh at you.

This week we had really interesting tech classes. We learned about plumbing and making irrigation systems with bamboo and pvc pipes and a super cool pump called a bomba that you make out of readily available materials and it can pump water 100 meters uphill. We are also making a bunch of different kinds of compost, like regular, worm compost, bokashi, and a fermented molasses kind. We also went over to this hill that had been slashed and burned and built dead barriers and terraces, and learned how to make level As. We used those to stake out contour lines to plant along, and we planted the whole hillside with plantains and bananas, yuca, root veggies called ñame and ñampi, beans, and corn. I hope they grow. recently weve been spending a lot of time working in the field. Its hard work and you get completely filthy and muddy and sweat drenched, but I love it. And besides, one is ALWAYS sweat drench here, and usually muddy to boot. We used the ashes from the slashed and burned trees to make fake tattoos and face paint. Carmen gave me a tattoo of an equis (fer de lance) on my bicep. Pictures will be forthcoming.

we also had a fun spanish party yesterday to celebrate our advancement to the next level. We played some music, some astrodisco, volleyball without a net, some party games, Panamonopoly (its a real boardgame) and ate a TON of bocadillos and burundangas.

This coming week we are splitting up to do tech weeks. 7 of us asSASsins are going to Divisa in Veraguass to go to this permaculture school for a week. It sounds really interesting. The other groups are ging to Bocas for caco training and Boquete for coffee training. That means I am not getting a fruit tree site as expected. I think my site is going to be working with rice planting. I guess this community really wants to plant in a traditional way but they want to improve their soil quality. Im not super excited about rice but the potential community sounds really cool. And thats the most important thing. They said it was also really hot. Yikes. I think THIS is really hot. Ill adjust. Hopefully there will be a chorro.

Im also really excited about tech week because we have a free day after tech week and we are going to the BEACH. we are just getting a palm thatch rancho right ON the beach and we can just hang out there all day and sleep on the sand next to the waves. There is also a little restaurant where you can get fresh caught fish and maybe a pina colada with fresh coconut and pineapple. Overlooking the pacific ocean. And the palm trees. I love my life nearly all of the time except when I have food poisoning.

We started this thing called The Great Botfly Bet. we all put a dollar into the kitty, and the first person to get a botfly (confirmed my photographic evidence of course) wins all the money. Ill probably get one sometime, so I might as well make some cash monies off of it.

Anyway, I hope you are all well. WRITE ME SOME LETTERS! I only got one so far, from my mom. Thanks mom, youre the best. I have written a bunch of you letters but you probably havent gotten them yet because its really hard to get to the post office here so they accumulate in my notebook for a while before i get a chance to send them off.

Anyway, love to you all, even though panama is awesome i miss you guys!

Love, Molly

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

¿Que Sopa?

Hey yall! I never did find that apostrophe key as it turns out. Ah well, such is life. My passport also molded, but again. What can you do. Things are still great in this neck of the isthmus. I have a new machete and I named it La Viuda Negra (which means The Black Widow). She and I do great thigns together like take out swatchs of overgrown campo and hack open coconuts. Here are a few highlights from this week:

1) I rode in a diablo rojo with a monkey.

2) There is an AMAZING waterfall, or Chorro here in Santa Clara. We went for a few hours on Saturday and sat in teh water and I was COOL FOR 2 HOURS!! So exciting. Another volunteer brought loudspeakers and a watermelon and we spent teh afternoon jumping off the rocks and swimming around and it was a ton of fun.

3) we had a conference in a conference center that was decked out in Faux Italian decor. Lots of white with gold trim and lavender accents. I felt like I was supposed to be wearing a quinceanera dress.

4) I get a deep fried hot dog for breakfast or lunch at least once per day.

5) A few of us have been getting together to play frisbee in teh campo in our village. We have been teaching a couple of teh village boys to play and its a lot of fun. And the sunsets over the field are AMAZING every single day.

6) Mango season is beginning...

7) You may be relieved to know that I now celebrate Malaria Mondays. that means I take my antimalarials on moday becasue it rhymes. Except I forgot this week and took it on tuesday. Ah well. One cant always rhyme. You can get fired for not taking your antimalarials, so that sucks. Also apparently we are all going to get botflies. Gross, but sort of fascinating. If youre not squeemish, YouTube it. Apparently they are the least of our worries.

8) I am spending teh next week visiting a volunteer in her site. I was supposed to go to an inidiginous site a 2 hour hike from teh nearest road in teh Comarca Ngobe Bugle, but that volunteer has been in the hospital with severe diarreah (or however you spell that in english, my english is all messed up because of the spanish) for 8 days. Poor woman. So instead I am going to Chiriqui to a Latino site. Its still a 1 hour hike in, so I still get to practice my super efficient packing skillz.

anyway, things are great and I hope you are all having super cool adventures and stuff.

Love to you all,