Some day has come
Trip Start May 14, 2006
9Trip End Aug 17, 2008
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A year into my time here and I am finally writing. Well in about a month I will have been inPanama for 1 year! Part of me feels as if I just stepped off the plane into the humid airport yesterday. I hope the next year goes as well if not better than this first year has. I just now am starting to think of my town as my home.
I live in a little, spread-out, and hilly ( I honestly do not think a flat spot exists here) town called El Pantano, translated to English means; the swamp, and yes, sometimes, especially, during the rainy season (meaning it rains HEAVILY everyday, as opposed to just raining everyday) this place can seem like a swamp.
The population of El Pantano is about 1000, so some people from my town have told me. I really don`t think that anyone actually knows the population. Anyways the population is fairly small, but the town itself is very spread out as I`ve already mentioned. To walk from one end of town to the other can take over two hours, and walk everyone does because only a handfull of people own private cars, and the public transportation, an old pick-up truck, runs infrequently, sometimes not for months.
I think I was placed in one of the most beautiful areas of Panama, whenever I return from elsewhere I am always awed by the beauty of this place. El Pantano borders a mountainous National Park, El Parque Nacional de Santa Fe, and the area has not experienced too much deforestation YET. As you can tell by the preceeding pictures the area is a lush tropical rainforest. A lot of people have asked me what animals I have seen, so far I`ve seen a few different types of monkeys, an armadillo, a sloth, lots of coral snakes, and 2 constrictors, 1 dead (see previous photo) and one very much alive and trying to get into the house I was living in at the time. I have always been very thankful that I was not living alone at that time and I hope I never have to deal with one at my house now that I am living alone.
School started up again in March, the summer vacation here is from December to March. I give environmental and english classes to all the kids, grades 1-6, three days a week. There is only 1 school here and if the kids wish to continue thier education they attend the nearest high-school in Santa Fe which is at least a 30 minute walk, most kids have a much longer trek and some hike up to 2 hours to school and back everyday. If the kids want to go to a better school they go to the capital of the province, Santiago. So a two hour bus ride is tacked on to their two hour hike. Classes start at 8:00 am, so some kids get up at three in the morning to get to school on time. I am amazed that they do this everyday of the week!
I have more to write, but I don`t have much more time left on the computer, so I will write again SOON! I have been thrilled to hear from all of you. I am so grateful to everyone who has taken the time to send a letter, e-mail or package. A letter at the post office from friends and family always makes my day, THANK YOU.