I'm still in the midst of figuring out a schedule but this is basically how my day goes:
The mornings are usually different everyday. Sometimes we have projects to work on other times we don't. For example, last week we did a bunch of different tasks; they can include working with kids, helping the handicapped, participating in the literacy program or doing environmental work. My favorite thus far has been going to the orphanage and playing ball with the muchachos and going to literacy and helping the Indian kids learn how to read. I'll add separate posts for those later. I think I'm going to go to the orphanage on Monday and Friday mornings and to literacy on Wednesday mornings. When I don't have anything on the agenda I compose poorly-worded posts for this blog or I look for jobs (I usually don't get very far because I get pissed off that I don't have any skills, experience or advanced degrees and I'm almost 28. -awesome).
So, in the afternoons I head down to David by bus, then take a taxi to the English school where they need a lot of help. I love going there because the students really want to learn. They range in age from 15-45. As Renny, the sassy, sharp-as-a-tack, retired Texan who runs the school says, these are the working poor and it is becoming more and more important for them to learn English. English is becoming more and more important to the economy of Panama. If these students can learn to speak English with some degree of proficiency it can improve their lives tenfold. It's an incredibly valuable skill.
I usually work with students either individually or in small groups, doing pronunciation or conversation. Renny loves having me around because it gives them a chance to listen to how a native speaker pronounces things. My new goal is to create an army of middle class Panamanians who speak English with a thick Long Island/New York accent.
I also like to help out at InglesTec because it gives me a chance to use/improve my Spanish. It also reminds me how freaking ridiculously hard English is. Explaining the intricacies of English through my limited/broken Spanish is no easy task but its definitely fun and interesting.
So, when I'm all finished I head back to Boquete. My colleague Will usually gives me a ride and drops me off at a dingy bus stop where he heads off on the road to Potrerillos. Sometimes I wait there from 30 seconds to 30 minutes for the bus to come by (and I pray it stops). I am also incredibly tempted to pop in the Jardin Tres Estrellas, the crappy, open-air cantina across the street (its the worst-looking place in the world, but it somehow has one of the biggest TVs I've ever seen). By the time I get back to Boquete, its dark. I get some food, read and go to sleep.
Notes: More pictures to come.
Julie yesterday mentioned that she has not had a rude encounter with a Panamanian yet in the two weeks we've been here. Neither have I. They're all incredibly friendly and charming. I can't wait to tell you the story of my Panamanian grandma Abuelita Anita who bought me ice cream yesterday.