Just a Little Bit of Panama….
Before flying into Panama my perception of the valley was significantly different from what I have come to live and love. I wasn’t expecting structures, community, culture nothing more than just simply, the jungle. But man was I wrong. The first surprise of course was San Miguel: a 500 person community of common individuals solely focused on living, a concept I have never seen nor experienced growing up in the fast-paced North-Eastern United States. After spending sometime with the San Miguel interns in the small town I head to the Valley. The 1.5 hour hike uphill was definitely a wake-up call for how physically laborious the valley was going to be but it was accompanied by some of the most spectacular views of the rolling hill/mountains (what have you) that Panama has to offer. Once entering Base-Camp we got right to business. The daily routine: breakfast (cooked by the amazing Zac Largo), orientation work (machetes, shovels, palm run, the usual), lunch (props to Largo), then maybe a Spanish lesson or organic farming readings and a little more labor, finally a bath in the river would perfectly end the day and set everyone up for dinner and late night games/bonding.
With all the basics pretty much laid out above, I want to use the rest of this blog post to explain my interactions with the campesinos. Thus, I titled this first post “The Magic of Panama”. One of my favorite campesinos Ramon also known as a Brujo which to the San Miguel community is see by many in the community as a great and wise elder, so to speak. But to Kalu Yala, Ramon and the rest of the campesinos are part of our family. Most days especially with the work on the new Rancho we work side by side with Ramon and Jorge everyday, learning how to not exactly speak Spanish, but understand basic body language for communication. Even within the past two weeks, solely my interactions we have had with the campesinos have made my experience here worthwhile. Experiencing the wide array of skills and knowledge they possess is remarkable. For example, Ramon a man in his mid 60s who spends his time practicing skills from basket weaving to cutting palm with his machete. Thus, with all said and done, I am very excited to use my time in Panama cracking into the large volume and wisdom Ramon and the other local campesinos have to offer.