Monday, December 28, 2009

A Beach Outing and Christmas Celebrations

Good afternoon and a late Merry Christmas to you all. I hope that you all had a chance to celebrate the birth of our Savior with family and friends. Christmas was more simple for me this year. Although I dearly missed family and friends, it allowed me to meditate on the meaning of Christmas without a lot of the distractions and busyness that the season can sometimes bring.

The past two and a half weeks have been very exciting. Here´s a quick snapshot:
--Made latrine holes and floors for two houses

--Finished the seasonal calendar for one community

--Began work in a different community, havnig a general meeting and then walking up to the springbox

--Hosted the regional leader for a day, when we walked the acueduct line, had lunch, and a small interview to see how I´m adjusting to the Peace Corps lifestyle. She remarked that my spanish has improved--I was surprised she could tell!

--Met with a previous Peace Corps Master´s International student, who returned to Panama and is now married and expecting her first child

--Enjoyed Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Story drama with my community

The highlight of the past couple weeks was heading to the beach near Remedios with my host family just before Christmas for 2 days. We walked for two hours and then rode on the back of a farm truck to the beach--I felt like I was on the Jurassic Park ride as I was looking at all the animals from the back of the truck.

The next day we hiked to the mangrove forest, where we climbed up and down tree roots to find conch shells hidden beneath the tree roots. After getting thirsty, my host dad climbed up the coconut tree to get fresh cocunuts to drink. Returning to the mangrove forest, we went crab hunting. The process is to blindly stick your hand in a crab hole until either you grab the crab or the crab grabs you.

The day was rounded out by finding iguanas in the trees and then killing them with a rock flung by a slingshot. My host father missed the first one, but got the next four on his first shot. In case you were wondering, the meat tastes surprisingly like chicken.

Highlights for the next month include celebrating New Years, visiting with my environmental Health Director, and awaiting the arrival of my fiancee in February.

I wish you all a new year full of family, health, hope and new beginnings!
    1 Peter 1:3
    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.



  1. Merry Christmas Kevin. May God continue to strengthen you and use your talents for His glory. Your Christmas sounded fun, exciting, and definately "out of the ordinary"! We enjoyed a 1.5 week vacation in Idaho with our families. Was nice to go skiing, tubing, etc. Hope you have a wonderful visit with your fiance. Take care and God Bless.

    Jeff Rau

  2. I'm excited for February!
    I love you!


  3. The pictures were great!!! I could not see how you could actually pick a favorite sunset picture they were all so amazing and breathtaking. Your host family is certainly giving you some great skills to be a good provider for our daughter. We will have no worries that Sarah will be without food after seeing your training!! I'm glad that you got some traditional American Christmas food. It looked delicious but to you probably a hundred fold! We missed you and can't wait for Sarah to be able to visit. She is very anxious. I sent your hug with her and gave one to her for you as promised. Be well. Love you,

    P.S. Love the Yankees hat on your host mother!

  4. It's amazing how similiar your Decemeber was to mine in the Wisconsin and Minnesota. Well, maybe not. Conch shells, crabs, and iguanas. Now that's amazing.
    Scott Roe

  5. Hey Kevin,

    So encouraged to see the good work you are doing. Showed your pictures to a classroom full of students, and talked to them about living with purpose. Hope you are keeping well.

    Gabe Malloy