March 11, 2015
Mi amiga from Michigan, Jennifer, arrived via bus safe and sound in Rio Sereno. She recognized Gary immediately when she spotted him from the bus and was waving at him from the window. In the 8 hour busride from Panama City to David, she said she saw very little worth viewing. Most of Panama, which is pretty flat, has been deforested and industrialized. The landscape was replete with KFC’s and MacDonalds. It is a much different Panama than I know here in the beautiful highlands.
Jen is a fabulous guest. She is very neat and loves to organize things. She has organized some shelving space for herself. This is a major miracle since we have all my stuff squeezed in this tin shack and I thought I might need a shoehorn to get just one more thing in here. While Gary and I are terracing in the mornings, Jen has been digging a latrine complete with privacy screen. She has been re-carving some of the steps leading down to the creek. She cooks and makes snacks and never complains about the rugged life. She doesn’t mind washing her clothes out of a tote with a scrub brush or showering from a hose. It is sure nice having a female English-speaking friend to talk to.
Last night we went for a walk down to the closest local “Tienda” to buy some eggs (huevos). Yeovani (Beto’s boy) insisted on following us down there since we had never been there. We were glad he came because he was a great little guide and he was pointing out all kinds of different plants and seeds. The shortcut he chose to get to the shop ended up being super steep and he climbed it with ease. Jen and I on the other hand were huffing and puffing and taking breaks (even though we both are used to walking a lot). On the way back I ended up falling and the Huevos suffered a minor crunching. We had scrambled eggs for breakfast ;-). Yeovani noticed I was limping a bit and he found a walking stick for me (what a sweet boy). It really did help with the steep down hills on the way back home. It was actually kind of a magical walk since we ran into a lot of the neighbors who smiled and talked happily with us as we passed by. Daisy invited us to just stop by soon for a visit.
Yeovani has been hanging out with us a lot lately. His smiling face pops up at the shed window quite often. We told him he could work for us picking up rocks with a bucket and bringing them up to the driveway. Today he grabbed the hoe and was dragging the dirt down like he had observed us doing. He works for an hour or two and is very happy to get $1.00 per hour. His eyes just light up when I hand him a dollar bill or two. I wonder if he has ever been paid for his work. Doesn’t look like it. Sure seems to have made him motivated since he shows up ready for work in the morning. He is helping Jen and me to learn more Spanish. He chatters away and we don’t understand most of what he says but we do catch some stuff. We often tell him the English word equivalent for the Spanish word he shares with us. Beto would love for Yeovani to have the opportunity to learn English and Yeovani seems to be interested too. He is a pretty good Spanish teacher since he corrects our pronunciation quite frequently. Yeovani has also been helping us spot bananas that are ready to chop down. Yesterday he used Gary’s machete to cut a banana stalk and he carried the heavy bunch up the hill for me. I told him he was very strong and his eyes sparkled.
It would be nice if we could make a difference in this kid’s life. He has made a difference in ours already.
Until next time,