4.26.2007

CRASH

I have not posted on this blog before but I will use it while we are in Panama to keep in touch.
(For anyone who does not know “I” = Jeff = husband of Foy)

One year ago I was:
finishing my last quarter at SCAD
getting my thesis wrapped up
helping to build an eighty foot floating sculpture
doing Foy’s bidding regarding wedding preparation
and 4/25/06 I got hit by a car while biking.
I was very lucky and other than the scars there is no permanent damage.
The first shot was taken in Savannah the day after, and you can see some of the 22 staples.
The second shot was taken one year and 1300 miles away.
Jeff

4.23.2007

Solar Array


Jeff visited a local solar panel manufacturer, Iowa Thin Film Technology, last week. They told him they couldn't sell him a solar array because they are back ordered. However, since we're going into the Peace Corpse and all they just gave him a prototype they had in back. That's pretty awesome.
It folds up to about the size of a VHS tape. When unfolded it's about 3 x 3 feet. It's water resistant and durable. (I think we will test those claims while in Panama.) Apparently they are the same kind the military uses. The guy who gave it to Jeff said for every four hours of charging we'll get about one hour of time on our laptop. It will charge even if it is cloudy. It has a Cigarette Lighter Adapter, so we'll just need to get a car charger for a laptop and we'll be set. Well, we'll need a laptop too. Jeff is working on that.
Jeff told the people at Iowa Thin Film Tech. we would send them updates on how we do in Panama. I don't think that will be a problem now that we have solar power.

4.17.2007

What to wear in Panama

Since I posted this article. I have learned first hand what people wear in Panama. Here's the answer.

I’ve been wondering about how to dress when we are in Panama. Our PC packet offers very little insight. Here’s their list of what to bring:
  • 3-4 pairs of casual pants
  • 1-2 pairs of nicer pants
  • 1-3 pairs of shorts
  • 2 out door work shirts
  • 4 shirts or tank tops
  • 3 nice shirts with collars
  • 1 sweater or thermal
  • Bathing suit
  • 4-5 pairs of socks dark colors
  • 2 week supply of undies
  • Hat and bandana

This is pretty open ended so I spent tonight google-ing what Panamanians wear. Here’s the short of it.

Neat and Sharp: The two most common words used to describe how Panamanians dress. This means always having clean hands and face, groomed hair and not sweating. I’m curious to see how that last one goes, it is tropical after all. Also no wrinkles, they are a sign you don't care. Another one that will be hard to do traveling and in a humid climate to boot.

Shorts - Apparently wearing short skirts or shorts was banned by some leader a while back because that was too American and they were trying to distance themselves from Americans. That’s since been revoked but they still wear long pants and skirts.

Cleavage - Many women around Panama City have fake boobs. And even if one doesn’t have fake boobs the bras sold locally push up and together to make sure you have lots of, how did one blogger put it? Ah yes “breasts that protrude out of these little tops like a baby kangaroo out of his mothers belly.” That was a woman blogger by the way.

Heels - Women always wear heels in the city. In most Central American countries girls celebrate their Quinceanera, a kind of debutant party when a girl turns 15. She gets her first pair of high healed shoes and is officially a young lady. This means unless you consider yourself under 15, you wear heels. If you’re a guy closed toed shoes when in city.

T-shirts - Only for very casual wear, otherwise only under other shirts. Guys wear them under button ups. Although looking through PC pictures many seem to wear t-shirts. That’s reassuring.

Collared Shirts - Not unlike dental school, Panamanians seem to prefer collared shirts, be it polo or button up. Looking through photos, most of the local men wear collars. It is amazing to me the number who wear white. I suppose it is cooler, but if you have to wash your clothes by hand, I would think white would be tough to maintain. Or maybe that’s the point?


Here's a November 2006 Peace Corps group at their Swearing In Ceremony. As you can see a number are breaking the rules I established. So I guess I'll take it all with a grain of salt.

If you need more information look at my ehow articles:
How to dress for Panama - men
How to dress for Panama - women
How to dress in Panama City

4.11.2007

Update Email

This is the Foy Update I just emailed out, so a lot of you will have seen it. If you want to be added to my mass mailing list, just let me know.


Jeff and I have officially accepted our Peace Corps nomination and will be headed to Panama May 12, 2007 give or take a couple days. We have been told by many sources that our correspondence will be easy the first three months while
we are in training near Panama City, but once we are at our site we could be fairly remote. That doesn't mean you should stop writing to us, just that we might take a while to get back to you.
We will be in Panama for 27 months.

The only reasons we would leave the country would be for close
family deaths, siblings or parents, or medical evacuation. Hopefully, we won't have to leave the country. Note that you may visit us when ever you wish after our first three months of training. I'm sure we can find a an open hammock for
you.

Jeff and I have been given job titles, but let me tell you, they aren't narrow. I am Sustainable Agriculture Services, fondly known as SAS. As far as I can tell, this could be clearing fields with machetes, aquaculture, home vegetable production, integrated pest management, alternatives to slash and burn or cash crop production. Jeff is Community Environmental Conservation or CEC. His description is even more vague, environmental education, promote eco youth groups, rural development, or advocate environmentally responsible practices. The Peace Corps gives site assignments after the three month training period so they can match you and your skills to a specific site at that point we'll have a better idea of what we'll be doing.

As for the location we will be assigned to, there are also many diverse options. I can say we will be in a community that is indigenous or Latin that has at least 70% poverty. Many of the journals I have been reading by Panama PC volunteers ( http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/pm.html) describe being a several hour canoe ride from the nearest road, sleeping in stilted, bamboo huts and/or having to wash themselves and their clothes in a river. Most of the population of Panama speaks Spanish and is catholic. Although, in an indigenous village they would speak their native language as a first language and Spanish as a second, and have a mixture of native and catholic beliefs. Will we have a computer or cell phone? Probably not. Jeff is looking into getting an inexpensive laptop and solar array . We most likely won't have running water or electricity so internet is out of the question, but with a computer/solar set up we would have a way to journal and download pictures so we could burn them onto CD and send them home. We'll see, I am on the fence regarding having a computer. I feel having a computer would set us apart, we are supposed to be living on the same level as the people in our community and having a big solar panel on our roof just might make us stick out. Also, theft is pretty common, especially when we are in a big city for training or what not. As for cell phones we won't have one. The Peace Corps will give us a pager of sorts that will alert us if we need to leave the area due to weather or other events that might effect us. Other than that we'll have to use pre-paid calling cards when in town.

Does PC pay you guys? Well sort of, we are given a "walking around" stipend that will be similar to the money the people in our community make. This money should be enough to buy us food and basic necessities. In addition to the stipend we will have $225 per month put into a savings account for us. This money is what we will be given when return to the states. Let me do the math for you, that's about $6,000 we'll each earn in two years. So we're definitely not in it for the money.

Why did we sign up? One night over dinner, I mentioned wanting to do a project where we would live on a demonstration homestead in Maine for a year. Jeff said, "I'd rather do Peace Corps or something like that." I'd always thought Peace Corps sounded interesting and we had been saying it would be a real boon to our children if they could grow up bilingual. So the idea was germinated and began to take root. We applied in January 2006 and now, about 15 months later we are about to begin our journey.

I will continue to use my blog (http://www.foyupdate.blogspot.com/) as much as possible. Jeff may make entries as well. If we take a computer/digital camera I will probably get a Flickr account. Many people feel that we will be out of communication with civilized world while we are volunteers. This is not the case, we will be in communication, just not in the ways we are now. The old art of letter writing shall be revived and short emails asking when to meet for dinner will have to be replaced with less frequent but more substantial emails.

This is already becoming a substantial email and I'm not even in Panama yet. I will attempt to keep you all up to date on our journey and I hope you will do like wise.

4.03.2007

Apartment for Rent

Know anyone who wants to sublease an Ames apartment for the summer?



We should be all moved out by May 12th and we have the lease until August. Even someone who would rent it for a month would be helpful.

My plan is to put out some flyers on campus and around Ames. However, the printer is making this aweful grinding noise when I try to print. Guess I'll just have to find some places to list online until Jeff gets a chance to look at it. It is great to have a handy husband.