Day 51 - Service Training - An Earthy Experience

Another asprirante pointed out to me how sterile it is going to feel going back to the United States. It is true. Here everything is much more earthy. The houses are open air, latrines are the norm and the sounds at night are animals not cars. The best example of the organic feeling here is the local transportation.

Cars are for the rich few. If you catch a bus you will find all of the working class and subsistance farming families in Panama represented. The old yellow school busses are painted at the whim of the owner and packed to the door with live chicks, sweaty people and over full bags of groceries. All buses are driven as fast as possible through curvy asphalt lanes and often on the wrong side of the road when there are pot holes, which is most of the time. Instead of politely pulling a cord to indicate you want off, one yells “parada” as they see where they want off approach.

I think back to the sterility of the Blue Route CyRide I took home from work at the flower shop during college. It had air-conditioning, a lit interior, predictable time tables and rules banning more than two shopping bags per persons. Unlike the mostly college age population on CyRide, on the busses here you will find mothers with their three young children, teenagers in school uniforms, adults in suits going into the city for work, young men in impeccably white sneakers and indigenous Nobe couples with their beaded ankles.

I think I´m going to keep working on this little entry and work it into an article for The Tribune. I think it needs a little more time to ripen though.


  1. I like your idea of this for a Tribune piece. Your Sunday entry is hilarious, especially the part about you almost falling off your chair, but probably best not to be a newspaper piece. Really, really good stuff. You make your journalist mom proud!


  2. Hi guys! Just wanted to write a quite note and say that I'm enjoying all of your stories. You seem to be doing well...and learning a ton, of course.

    My new job's going well, and Steven comes home from West Virginia in just a couple of days! If we want to send you something while you're at your site, I assume you'll have a different address than the one you posted earlier? Let us know.