Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Go West, says Java!

Sorry, not much updating going on around here. This week we are in Boquete getting my big ol’ sack of coffee samples tested (“cupped”, in the parlance of the coffee world). It is a time consuming process, but we can only help with limited steps of the process, and today we can’t. It is hard to believe that in three more days I’ll have the bulk of the data that I need to finish my thesis research. Woohoo! The feeling of elation is tempered by the feeling of “bhlleck”, which is the sound that my stomach is making. It seems like somewhere we picked up a parasite/amoeba/bug that is partying in both Karinne’s and my intestinal tracts. We will see how that goes. Fortunately this town has lots of clean toilets with ample toilet paper, which can be a rarity in this country.
We had our regional meeting last week, then visited our friend Stephanie who lives up in the Comarca Ngobe-Bugle, where she works with coffee among other things. Very pretty up there, and very different from where we are culturally. Panama is a small country, but reveals a surprising range of culture and traditions in sometimes neighboring areas. We burned pine needles at one point, and it made me homesick for the West.
My parents visited for a while over the holidays, and it was a good visit. It is interesting to see this country that we have become familiar with in the eyes of family straight off the plane. It is also funny to see how living on $10/day has changed our views of what exactly $10 amounts to. We visited parts of the country we hadn’t been to yet, and it also emphasized just how little time we have left here.

Friday, January 04, 2008

This is the year we leave Panama

A fellow volunteer said this, and it caught me off guard. 2008 has seemed far away often, as can happen, until you find yourself changing 7s to 8s as you write dates for a few weeks. This is the year of the election inundation, the year when I do not want to even see tv news. 2007 felt like a year when we didn´t accomplish much, and I hope to reverse this in 2008.
My parents are here visiting, and it has been fun touring around the country, playing tour guides. I will try to put some pics from this roadtrip on here shortly.