Day 31

Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
Trip End Dec 25, 2007

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Flag of Panama  ,
Friday, October 5, 2007

I woke up to the sunrise, which unfortunately was mostly just general light in the sky rather than an actual sun rising for a picture, and just laid there in the hammock until I heard Vanessa and Gabriel awake inside. I really didn't want to get up; it was so beautiful out there. I wanna sleep in a hammock in the beach breeze every night. But I had to get up 'cuz we had to clean up the house before breakfast and it was already like 6:40. I got stuck with cleaning the shower, probably because it was my muddy Chacos that had been sitting in it all week from that first muddy walk on the beach. At breakfast we gave the restaurant the first of many cards we had written and signed, and poor Gabriel gave yet another thank you speech. On the bus Eli said that she thought we should have sung for them, that they would have appreciated it. But it felt pretty strange to be singing in the middle of a restaurant with no prior planning at all.

Back in the courthouse where we had started this whole amazing trip, Rigo and David each gave another short presentation. David had feedback surveys for us to fill out, and thanked us so profusely and genuinely that I thought I might just stay. Bonnie had brought one of our tenkes, the trash barrels, so we could take a picture of us presenting the projects to Rigo. We talked about what we had worked on as far as service projects and what we had learned and also what we had liked best about our stay. We had nothing but good things to say, of course; nothing but good things had happened. Then we sang our song for them - not "Part of Your World" again, this time we sang the goodbye song form The Sound of Music. We'd been working it up to do at the bonfire, and never did, so we wanted to use it somewhere. It turned out to be the perfect outlet for it and everyone loved it. There were exactly 7 of us counting Josh, the photographer, so we each took a part. I did the bit about the champagne. Josh did Kurt's part, the one that goes really high. It was hilarious. He was just really goofy about it and made everybody laugh. Mariam was taping with his big camera too. We made an attempt at the motions and the steps but it didn't really work; everybody seemed to think it was really well put together though so I guess it wasn't too bad.

Then we had to say goodbye; we'd delayed it as long as we could. It was hugs all around, and three or four for some. I think I hugged Mara five times. Kymber and Bonnie stayed upstairs with David and Rigo and everybody, but Ivy walked down to the bus with us. I had thought she was going to come, but she couldn't. I gave her a hug and thanked her a whole bunch; I don't remember what I said. I do remember that I cried. She'd been so much more like a friend than a guide and I really do miss her a lot. She really was one of the reasons I had such a spectacular few days. I really wish it could have been longer.

Eric drove us back through the town of Guararé and La Enea, and as I watched the communities go by I felt already as if I had some tie to them. Everything the people were saying about us being part of their family now wasn't just words; they were absolutely right. Family is different down here - lots of kids and grandparents and nieces and nephews all in the same place, like the nuclear family is just bigger. I feel like there's another limb growing on my family tree, one that perhaps doesn't look the same, because it was grafted on. I will definitely go back to this place.

It was a really long drive to Panama City, where the boat had moved to, and then we still didn't actually go to the ship. We all slept most of the way, or tried to, but it was easy to wake up for lunch because we were all really hungry. We stopped at a place called Mi Pueblito for lunch and then some quick shopping before yet another tour, this time incorporating the indigenous Kuna Indians. When the woman took us into a room full of polleras, it was hard to keep from laughing, let alone feign interest. I felt bad for her. Gabriel managed some intelligent questions, which of course we already knew the answer to, but he saved the moment from total ruin. We visited the community meeting place, a replica of course, and learned a little bit about their lifestyle before being turned loose in the shops. There were lots of artists there with their crafts, also designed for tourist customers but still connected to their traditional practices. I bought a couple things. All in all it was not really a very eventful afternoon after the excitement of Guararé.

When we finally got back on the ship, I went straight back to my cabin and dumped my stuff without putting it away. I vaguely remember Lucia coming in and out a couple times and talking to her a bit. And I remember thinking I would write until dinner and then go to bed, and amending that a few minutes later to include a nap, before dinner if necessary.
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