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Showing posts from November, 2015

Homecoming

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Much Needed Rest

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Day 5- August 11, 2015

Morning came far too quickly. Ben woke me up by tugging on the hammock strings. As soon as I opened my eyes, I realized there was far too much sunlight. I was definitely late for a boat. Four minutes later I was packed, power walking down the hill. Enilda invited me over for breakfast but I had to wave her a thanks and keep going. Ben promised to say bye to her for me. I made it to the river just in time to catch a boat. I hopped in and we set off downstream, hoping to catch the chiva to Metetí.

Meanwhile, I was more tired than I had been when I went to sleep the night before. My head hurt again, and when we all piled into the chiva and took off down the windy rural highway I quickly started feeling nauseous. Crap.

The culprit was probably doing too much too soon from my strep- I was still on antibiotics and I had spent the entire day previously working in the sun. Dehydration and exhaustion- those were simple enough fixes. We were in Metetí by 8AM so I went str…

A Lifetime of Plantains

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Day 4- August 10, 2015
“I just can’t stop thinking about my kids. I want them to have a role model that shows them they can be and do just about anything. I know that I am just one person, I get that there are kids everywhere but these are my kids we’re talking about- Feli, Pecho, Emili, Miliana, Josecito…all 86 of them. Rationally, I know that it is my time to go, I need to move on, but my heart doesn’t understand how to leave. They are surrounded by drugs, HIV, poverty, racism, and have the worst education system on the planet…it doesn’t feel right. Am I supposed to be like, ‘See ya later, good luck with all that?’”
My voice trailed off into the night. It was late, and Ben’s hut was blanketed in thick darkness, pierced only by a sliver of moon. Lying in our hammocks, we were talking about leaving, moving on, and starting the next phase of our lives. While on the one hand it seemed exciting and fitting; on the other hand it made absolutely no sense.
It had been a long but exciting day.…

Heading East

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Day 3: August 9, 2015
Morning came way too quickly: 4:30am. Luckily for the rest of the world my groggy, cranky self didn’t need to interact with anyone until I arrived at the bus terminal. The pavo asked me if I was going to Metetí and I said yes. I tucked myself into a seat and pretended like I never woke up.
In true Darien fashion, the bus took forever. It was 1pm before I arrived in Metetí and I was still early morning cranky. And starving. And hadn’t had coffee. And needed to pee. And needed to buy things from the hardware store for Ben’s latrine. And knew that I was running late to hitch a ride to the port. I was arguing with myself over how to prioritize the aforementioned necessities while paying the bus driver and squeezing myself out of the cramped space when I heard, “Djabawera!!!”
I quickly spotted the woman in the paruma and walked over. I didn’t know her. Did I? Quick introductions confirmed that we’ve never met, nor was she traveling to Vigía. However, she was bound and…

One Short Day in the Panama City

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Day 2: August 8, 2015
My dorm room had long emptied by the time I regained consciousness at 10am, just in time for more antibiotics. Ben had left hours before on a bus to his site in the Darién, and the other travelers were off sightseeing. I moved upstairs to the sunlight to work my way through a champion’s breakfast of popsicles and coffee. Seneca, another PCV finishing his service, joined me and we discussed our major life changes.
After a lazy morning, I was starting to feel human again by mid afternoon as the dark clouds started rolling in. Knowing it was my last chance to go to the indigenous store, I mustered up my energy to brave Cinco de Mayo- a street bursting with stores, street vendors, and crowds of every age and ethnicity.
Resisting the temptation to buy another paruma, I settled on a Kuna headscarf, then dashed off into the rain to catch a bus to the mall. It had been three years since I had done any real clothes shopping. Walking into the fancy GAP, I felt like a fraud. A…