Nov 17, 2013


1_ On the way to look for the billboard yesterday, I saw a man getting a manicure on the side of the road. The client was sitting in a plastic chair, the manicurist was a man, he was sitting on a small bench, (small enough to carry) and he had a bag with his stuff - I saw him filing the nails of the man. I wanted to take a picture, sometimes I just cant intrude in the everyday lives of people because what they are doing seems curious or different to me.

2_ This thought has stayed with me since the day it happened. Back in Ayikumah when we visited with the village elder, when they offered us water, when the wife brought the bags out of their mud style home, the water bags were ice cold. So do they have a fridge inside the house or did she get from a vendor ? They live a ways from the main road - I did not see any electrical lines in the village, maybe they are there and I missed them. I will be sure to look for them next time.

3_ Tonight my village bucket shower was under a full moon. Maybe I am imaging this, the same blue bucket I've been using since I got here seemed to have much more water than ever before. Maybe the moon had something to do with this.

4_ Most of the compound MOM"s are outside right now. It is shy of 8pm. Their units are similar in size to mine, they have 3, 4, 5, 6 people living in very small quarters, I am sure they don't want or cannot afford to pay for the electricity to run fan, so they sit outside on small wooden benches because it is 10 degrees cooler outside. There are a few children running and playing. I am inside my unit sitting on the small couch with a fan on, typing this update. I love the tiny bit of privacy and quiet I get from being inside, they love the sense of community and I am sure the comfort of the cooler temps outside.

5_ Cecilia is one of the compound MOM's. She is very friendly and always greets me and talks to me. Today we talked about where we are from, the age of her children, how long I will be staying, she told me her age, 41. I told her I am 55, so now she calls me her "Senior Sister". She also always tell me God Bless You, Madam.

6_ Naked children, I've seen all the children under the age of 12 in the compound at some point naked. They all bath outside in their big basins in the morning, some at the same time I am going to take my shower. It is a way of life, part of the village landscape.

7_Today Ceci went to the market in the morning early, the DOME market. This is bigger than the Kissemah market and is about 15 minutes by trotro. That is where she buys all the supplies for the school lunch program. They have a vendor stall that actually provides receipts from a cash register which is very rare. She brought back lunch for Stefan from a vendor, what we would consider fast food.
He got a baggie with fried yam, like fried yucca or cassava. A tiny bag was inside the baggie, with hot sauce. He also had what they call a sausage, it was a fried Hot Dog. Stefan says he likes them very much. I stuck with my daily fresh pineapple. It was oh so sweet and cold. Ceci cuts in in the morning and puts it in the fridge, so it is always cold.

8_ My Trader Joe's Peppermint soap bar is almost gone. I brought two. The second one should last me for the next four weeks and then I will be headed home. I estimated correctly. If you have not tried this soap, you should, especially in the summer.

9__ Thursday I had a big craving for a SNICKERS BAR. I imagined everything I could about eating a Snickers. I called Cindy and told her all about it and then the craving was gone. For the record what I miss the most, my morning cappuccino that I make everyday with Panama Cafe Duran and share with Maddie and Morgan. They get a tiny taste of the milk froth or foam.

10_ Every morning between 5:30am and 5:50am about 3 or 4 roosters in the area announce the arrival of the day. I wonder if I will miss their call when I get home. I often think of my childhood when we visited our Grandparents finca in Panama, Linda Vista. We always heard the same daily greeting each morning. There is something about the call of a rooster that makes you feel grounded, like you belong and are part of the community.

------ Short and sweet from my iPad ---------