If you know anything about me, it is that I love to be on a schedule. I like knowing what I have to do when and just having order to my days. It allows for me to go to bed feeling like I have accomplished something in my day. I have had to do some adjusting to my daily routine here in Panama and in the Valley.
I’m not always an early riser. I do like to sleep in on occasion. But as I mentioned in my previous writing, there are a few things that prevent me from catching any extra shut eye in the morning; howler monkeys start baying at about 5:30am each morning, the hundreds of birds are chattering by then as well, the cattle in the nearby farms are being moved around and being very vocal about doing so, and then there is the heat inside my oven of a tent.
Now, my morning routine starts at about 6:30-7am. I hit ‘snooze’ on my natural alarm clock about as many times as I can at this point before it’s time to get the day started. Most mornings, after wiping the sleep out of my eyes, I head on down to the river.
It’s a great way to start the day. You cool off in the clear, crisp water (unless it has rained) that’s when you get a river that looks like this:
It’s significantly higher, murky, moving quickly, and not nearly as inviting. That hasn’t interrupted me very much here lately though. So, I walk on down to the river, take a quick dip, and make my way back up to basecamp for breakfast.
Largo, our valley chef, really spoils us some mornings! He has nearly perfected his apple cinnamon pancake recipe, his French toast is delicious and sometimes made with our own chicken’s eggs, valley coffee in the morning, even though we may already be sweating because of it, it always tastes so good. After our breakfast which is usually about 8:30, we get rolling in our work day.
The first half of this stint in the valley was full of exploring and learning. We went to our good friend Ramon’s house for a brief tour of all of the different kinds of fruits he has there, for a basket weaving session, and to meet his pet parrot who calls the cows in for him!
Then on Friday we went on a two hour hike (which certainly tired me out), through the jungle with Ramon to a beautiful waterfall.
We had Saturday off from working, but most of us valley kids have a really good work ethic and wanted to get some things taken care of in the morning before our guests arrived. Some of the business interns and interns from San Miguel came out to the valley for the day. These days are a little difficult for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love to have a good time with everyone, but I tend to have a lot of down time to think to myself. When I have a lot of thinking time, I start to think about all of my family and friends back home and get myself a little home sick. That’s why I enjoy keeping busy during my time in the valley.
The next half of the stint was all about the chickens for the Animal Sciences interns. We went into Veinte Cuatro to purchase some more chicks for our growing little farm in the valley, then for the rest of the week we worked on remodeling the chicken coop. We painted it and added a long run for them to peck around in while we are out of the valley every other weekend.
Now that you have a little taste as far as what the last two weeks had in store for me, back to my original topic; my routine.
Wake up with the sun and sounds of the valley, head to the river, breakfast, work until lunch, fill up on some more delicious food, work until 4, and have the evenings to ourselves. The evenings usually include another dip in the river, some volleyball, some journaling on top of the cabana for me, and just relaxing after a long day’s work, followed by yet another delicious meal cooked by Largo.
In the city or San Miguel, it’s a completely different story. I certainly prefer valley life. The valley officially feels like my home.