Archive for September, 2012

A friend of mine wrote this. This is a compilation of stories from Peace Corps Volunteers in Panama. I hope this entertains you. Guess which ones are me :)

A cow ate my underwear off of the clothesline.
My bug bite started growing.
There’s a ______ on my _________.
My pillow molded.
I got stuck in the mud up to my knees and my neighbor had to come pull me out.
I fell in the latrine and was shouting for help for 6 hours before someone found me.
My bus broke down on the side of the road in the jungle at night. FARC stopped and helped us jump the battery.
There’s a 250 lb pig in my canoe.
I took a shower in the rain. Halfway through shampooing, the rain stopped.
I can’t build my house this week because the moon isn’t right.
I can’t teach English at the school this week because it is possessed and needs to be exorcised.
I can’t remember if I took my malaria pills this week or not.
I have a double infected foot fungus.
I ate an endangered animal, and it was the best tasting thing I’d had in weeks.
I don’t know what I am eating.
I DO know what I am eating.
I missed my pee cup.
My boat ran out of gas halfway upriver to the port.
It’s 100 yards to the latrine. It’s pouring.
There’s a drunk man I have never seen before sleeping in my kitchen.
I bought a 25 lb bag of rice to feed my family for the week. They cooked it all in one night and invited the neighbors over. Tonight I don’t have dinner.
I got chased down by dogs on my way to the latrine at 2am.
My town is underwater.
My town put in power poles and connections to each house for electricity. We’re moving the entire town to higher ground next dry season.
My host dad won’t let me out of the house because my Spanish sucks.
My host dad won’t let me out of the house because I am a woman.
My country ran out of malaria pills.
I’m stuck in rush hour traffic on a 30 year old school bus with no A/C, sharing my seat with 3 Panamanians, and they’re blaring accordian music.
I woke my host family up beating on the walls due to my malaria med-induced dreams.
The border police thought my ID was fake.
My malaria meds make me cry spontaneously.
I went home to the US to visit and wasn’t feeling well. I told the urgent care nurse I either had Dengue or Malaria. She thought I was kidding.
There are ants in my toothbrush.
Today I was so bored I _____________. (this will probably be its on post in the future)
My matches got wet so I couldn’t make dinner.
My doctor told me it was a health hazard to have flies in my latrine and recommended that I pour kerosene in it then toss in a lit match.
We went to catch dinner in the river. We didn’t.
To send a text, I hit send then throw my phone up in the air to find signal. One time, I didn’t catch it.
To call you back, I have to trek through overgrown jungle, wade through a river, then climb a hill.
I went to the gas station. They didn’t have any.
I found 3 worms in my fruit. After I had eaten half of it. I gave it to my host mom. She took the worms out and gave it back to me to finish.
I’m standing by the side of the road waiting for my chiva. My chiva isn’t running today. I don’t know that yet.
I have a beach front hut on the carribbean. My community uses the beach as a latrine.
There’s a hole in my mosquito net.
I think I accidentally got married.
I went to the post office to send a letter. They didn’t know how.
I had spagetti for lunch. I forgot. When I threw up later that afternoon, my first thought was, ‘oh god I have worms!’
Our tiendas are out of food until tomorrow.
I have been hungry for 2 months.
When the boa constrictor fell from the roof onto my bed, my host dad said, ‘Don’t worry, he’s probably not big enough to kill you yet.’
The medical office wants me to make the 7 hour bus trip to come see them because I have to use the latrine every 20 minutes.
My host mom sent me to go get chicken for dinner. I told her the tienda was sold out. She said, ‘I know’ and handed me a knife.
My pile of dirty laundry just moved.
I got splash back in my face.
A pupply licked my butt when I was squatting over the latrine.
My host mom uses plastic bags as kindling whilst cooking.
I wear my sunglasses at night to watch the lightning.
A horse pooped in the doorway to the latrine.
My Panamanian women told my Columbian women they can’t be in the same crafts group.
There was a protest in my site over the need to build a road. But the protest was in the middle of the road.
I called to make a reservation at a hotel for the night. They never asked me for my name.
A rat peed on my bed. While I was sleeping in it.
If I wash my clothes I am afraid I won’t have enough water to bathe.
Smirnoff is the only thing on the top shelf.
Bot flies.
It took 30 years to build a road.
My peruma fell down when I stood up to introduce myself to the director of a government agency.
My community made me dance for them. Alone.
A man at the cantina offered my guy friend $2,000 for the opportunity to sleep with me.
I think there’s an unintelligable drunk trying to sell me coke right now. Not the soda.
On our night off, I went out to party with friends. By 8pm, we were all exhausted.
I bought ONE margarita at the mall. I got drunk.


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Now, if you know me, back in the States, I did laundry once every few months. And I would literally bend over backwards before I’d shower twice in one day. I mean, I didn’t see the point in washing clothes that were just going to get dirty again. Same goes for the body (I mean really, why shower after ultimate practice if I’m just going to go running in the morning?). I literally think I went one semester in grad school washing clothes three times (though I did shower more frequently than that). And that’s in a machine, you literally just have to throw the clothes in there, add some soap and come back in an hour. It’s basically magic.


In Panama, I do laundry like twice a week, mostly because it gives the community something to laugh at. I go down to the river with my little laundry soap and basket and sit on a rock and people just watch me struggle. They laugh for a little while, then they all discuss which one of them is going to try to help me.  And let me tell you, it’s HARD. And not because it’s physical (it is a little), but because there’s a specific technique to it.  When the women in my community wash clothes by hand there’s a very specific sound that it makes. I can occasionally make this sound but I still haven’t mastered it. And when I do get the sound, I get really excited… which then just makes anyone in the river laugh even more.  

In other soap-related news, I buy soap like it’s going out of style. I bought soap to put in my host family’s house, to bathe with, to wash clothes with, another to wash clothes with (accidentally, Spanish still isn’t great), another one to bathe with since the first one got lost in the river, and some Clorox to wash clothes with (still counts as the soap genre, right?). That’s a lot for one month.  But it has translated into some small successes. I sewed a little pouch to hang soap in my host family’s house (see below) and I’ve actually seen a few of them use the soap to wash their hands! Never before they eat or after they use the latrine… mostly just after they eat (with their hands)… but you know, one step at a time.



This is my little “jabonero” aka, soap holder. I went for the patriotic red, white and blue :)

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