It looks like Glow Worm tail, smells like vomit, and is ubiquitous throughout Panama. (Remember Glow Worms? The plush doll with the glowing hind end.)
Foy took this picture in our back yard. The noni is native to the Pacific islands, Asia, and Australia. It is a small rather pretty tree with large, dark green, waxy leaves. You have just been edjumacated.
Panamanians say the fruit is either a cure or preventative for a long list of ailments. I usually ask people who tell me this if they ever eat the fruit. The answer is always, No. Despite this you can find a noni tree or two in most peoples yards. This is the norm for fruit trees. Many trees here bare fruit that is sampled sparingly or entirely ignored.
January has been a month of leaving our site. Fortunately our road is drying out and the one transport that still works has been running most days. Today we are on our way to our last obligation of the month, the Project Management Leadership (PML) conference. PML is interesting because each of the remaining volunteers in our group (30 of the initial 34) should be bringing someone from their site for training in ¨soft skills¨. As always I am excited to see the group 59 ers and this time to meet the group of Panamanians selected to learn leadership skills.
Last week we came out of site for our quarterly regional meeting. These meeting are to get the volunteers in each region together for general information distribution, organization, and to keep tabs on our sanity. Each quarter the site for the meeting is different. This time we meet in Chepo... AT A POOL. It is a very small public pool with two water slides about four times larger than the pool. In a stroke of ill luck the pump had been broken for the last several days so no sliding, but some day I´ll slide those slides.
While playing the pool game Sharks and Minnows I pushed off the wall and jetted across the bottom of the pool for about two feet, then ran my head into someone else at top speed. I came up and turned to apologise to whomever it might be and Foy had blood streaming down her face. That's right I basically headbutted my wife. It was a complete accident and it wasn´t as bad as it looked but still painful. I apologized profusely and got her a cold beer.
After dinner we gathered at the house of a nearby volunteer and in a stroke of good luck, thank you karma, it turns out wrestling is a tradition of our region. Growing up my twin brother and I wrestled (beat each other to a pulp) every day, and as time passes the urge to throw down in a somewhat friendly manner builds in me. The area east of Panama city is large but it boasts a meager 13 PCVs and by the time we got to wrestling only four guys in the 150-180 lb weight class remained. Of those four I am champion until the next regional meeting. I walked with a limp for two days and the scratches on my knees and feet are now nearly healed. Next time we will look for a hallowed competition ring with fewer sharp rocks and spiny bushes. Four of the women also partook in this Grecian/Panama Este tradition. Foy chose to abstain saying, ¨One bloody nose is enough for today.¨