The Kalu Yala Blog

Cutting Back on the Zzz’s

July 10, 2011

by Anne Powell
Posted In: Adventures in the Tropics, The Creation of a Culture, Voices of Kalu Yala

The people of San Miguel enjoy empanadas, plantains, cervezas de Panama and… waking up at early-thirty a.m. These folks put roosters to shame. San Miguel is up and bumpin’ at 5:00 a.m. on the reg and closing time ranges anywhere from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The waking hours of this energetic community are positively contagious and much to my surprise, I’m starting to catch on to their routine.

Market Adventures

Since my life in college began in 2008, I have thoroughly enjoyed the luxury of making my own class schedule. I have yet to wake up earlier than 10:00 a.m. for class at Alabama and it is fabulous. The few times I have been up as early as 7:00 a.m. have  been on the days I register for classes, because the “good classes” (those after 11 a.m.) fill up instantaneously.

Seed Market at Early-thirty a.m. Veggies!

The bear cave of a room that I sleep in at school provides the most accommodating sleeping conditions: blackout curtains, a germ guardian with an ever-so-soothing synthesizer, a rapid ceiling fan and a mattress pad that is comparable to the consistency of a marshmallow. The only disturbance to this bedroom Utopia was the night our alarm system went off and my roommate was under the impression we were being robbed. I was too busy watching my eyelids to join the burglar search party. It wasn’t until after my roommates searched the house, turned the alarm off, came into my room, switched the lights on and said “Are you serious right now?”  that I turned over, mid-dream, and simply requested that she please turn the lights off. So basically if it weren’t for the invention of the light bulb and the central body of the solar system, the sun, I could probably sleep my life away.

Lunch at Mariella's

At Casa Llena I live in a room with three sets of bunk beds, five other girls and twenty-one curtain-less windows. Since we are the outreach interns, all of us in SMOT strive to be as in sync with the community as we can, meaning: we wake up when San Miguel wakes up. In the beginning I was skeptical about this idea, but adaptation settled quicker than expected. I quickly learned that sleeping in is close to impossible at Casa Llena. Thanks to the surplus of dogs that play the role of cock-a-doodle-do when the sun comes up and the twenty-one naked windows, Casa Llena’s residents are up’n’adam by sunrise each morning.

The Wake Up Enforcer

This foreign concept of “rise and shine” has slowly but surely become oh so meaningful to me. I have really enjoyed being alive and productive with the rest of the world each morning even though it sometimes takes a few flying objects catapulted at my bunk before I respond to sunlight.

When you think about it: the average human sleeps about half of their life away. So, why not cut back on the Z’s, go somewhere beautiful and change the world?


Sacocho Fiesta

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