Central America | Panama – How the Chinese New Year delayed my project
After PDM, I traveled back to San Felix. Some Bocas volunteers were on the same bus as me, and they ended up getting stranded in David, due to heavy rains and landslides in Bocas (funny, the same thing happened this time last year)
It was time a got my latrine project underway. I couldnt believe how fortunate I was, after losing Orlando’s (my favorite chiva driver) number, I ran into him at the piquera! And that day, we took a load of sand up to Chami. He thought we could do two trips, so we came back to Chami, but too late to do another trip. So, altho I had thought I would be in Chami, I stayed in San Felix again. Lasa, a missionary from Norway, was in San Felix too, coincidentally, transporting materials to build a new school kitchen in Boca del Monte.
The next day, I arranged to meet Orlando early at the Super, which are all run by Chinese people in Panama. There is a huge Chinese population from all the Chinese workers who dug the canal. For some reason, they own most stores and super markets in Panama, so these stores are refered to as Chinos, yes very politically incorrect, I know. But I arrived to find it closed! It was the Chinese New Year! Orlando and I called out Feliz A?o Nuevo to the owner as he walked by, but this would set me back a day. We went to the piquera so Orlando could look for passengers instead, but the Chino on this end of town was open, and they had sand! So, back to plan A, we took a load up to Chami. So the Chinese New Year really only delayed my latrine project a couple hours, which is nothing in Panama time, but I thought it was a catchy title.
On the way down, we literally almost ran into Lasa’s truck, which was broken down in the middle of the road, a very thin road on a ridge with drop offs on each side. Orlando managed to get around. But this meant we couldnt take the second load of the day up, Orlando thought it would be dangerous to try to squeeze around him while going uphill loaded down with sand. So I was again stuck in San Felix for the night. But I had dinner with Laura S, and Scott, a new volunteer who lives in Bocas by Rebecca S.
Today I was also supposed to take two loads up, but ran into Eugenio, my counterpart on this project. He said we should get sand from Rincon, an hour walk from Chami. I had asked him this when I filled out the grant and he said no. Now he was changing his mind! which was really irritating, but on the positive side, he thought he could borrow a Comarca vehicle and get transportation for cheaper. So there was no work for me today, and I have to got back to Panama City for another WID-GAD meeting tomorrow. That is why I am now in David, using internet at night, and waiting to get on the 12am bus to the city. It will arrive at 6am, and I dont have to pay for a hotel.
I also got an email from my friend Jenn in the states who is getting married in July, and Im a bridesmaid. The email said she’d been asking for my measurements for months, and now she needed them by tomorrow. Oops. So I had to go to four different sasterias in David, before I found a woman who could take my measurements so I could email them to Jenn.