Archive for December, 2013

Well the river is slowly but surely going down, the rains have stopped and the summer is upon us. Ahead lie four glorious months of no rain, no mosquitos, and an omnipresent breeze that elicits a feeling reminiscent of being cold.

There will be damages from the flood, like the tapstand that broke because of a boat slamming into it, and the already-damaged electrical cable that spent a week fully submerged in water. But those things will have to wait. There’s not much to be done while the river is still going down to a normal level.

So in the meantime, enjoy these pictures of my kittens and neighbors.



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So we are getting to the very end of the rainy season. Soon the summer will be here and it will not rain for at least 3 or 4 months. Unfortunately, the rainy season is ending late this year and the rain has not been stopping. The river that I live on has flooded over the banks and is encroaching on peoples houses. Our entire aqueduct is under water and I’m not sure that it will work once the river finally goes down. I was asked to leave my community until the river stops rising, which hopefully is soon. Last I heard from my community, the river had reached the very bottom of the stilts of my house (still impressively high, but my house is another 8 ft up so I’m not too worried). I’ve been in Meteti for the past few days waiting it out. Here are some pictures of what my community looks like (as of two days ago, when I left) … the river continued to rise after that.


this is the walkway between where I live and the main part of town… which I currently need a boat to get to. the water is over my head.


view from my house. normally the river cannot be seen or heard from here. Now I can do both.


My next door neighbors house, from my house.


There’s a flood indicator marker there. Under water. Somewhere.






You can see more photos on their fb page here – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lajas-Blanca/178960802179020


Luckily the rise has been slow. As far as I know no one has been hurt from the flood. Supposedly the rain has stopped and soon the river should begin to go down. At this point the biggest problem is the fact that all of the pit latrines in my community are under water (thus they have contaminated all of the water we have to use to cook, wash clothes, bathe, and drink). All we can do now is pray that the river goes down quickly and things can return to normal.

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So, after being in Panama for about a year and a half, you get kind of used to certain things. I didn’t even realize how much I had adjusted until my quick trip back to America in October. The following is a list of all the ridiculous things in Panama that I had completely forgotten were not normal.


  1. Running. You know what people say to you when you go running in America? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It’s normal. You know what people say when you go running in Panama? “Can I run behind you so I can just watch your butt for the next half hour?” True story.
  2. Customer service. I had completely forgotten that that existed. 
  3. Music on buses. There is only one volume of music on buses and it is called Deafeningly Loud. Also, it’s called Tipico. Would you like to listen to some Panamanian Tipico? Trust me, you probably do not, but in case you’re a masochist – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SY1z5_83fuI 
  4. Music (cont’d). On top of the screaming and accordion playing by the bus driver, anyone that has an urge to listen to a difference screaming accordion song will play it, aloud, for all to hear, from their phone or portable stereo.
  5. Appropriately sized seating. For some reason, all buses in Panama are made about half the width of a normal human butt. On top of that Panamanian women have some of the largest butts on the face of the planet. This means that every bus ride I literally have a fully grown adult sitting either on top of me or on half of my seat. I took a train in Philly and was pleasantly surprised to have zero adults sitting on me.

My trip home was a wonderful reminder of all the great luxuries that America has to offer! Maybe one day soon I will live there… 

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