Chapter I: Meeting a New World
Three neat bags sat by the door ready to go, and so was Boss Man. Slowly loading himself onto the plane, the adventure ahead was looming like the anticipation of a jack-in-the-box. At any moment the box would POP, but what was inside was a mystery.
He arrived in Panama City passing towering buildings that blocked the sun, screaming new development, as old structures sat by watching the change surround them. Hispania, a quaint pink house, is where Boss Man would stay for the next week. During this time he met a passionate group of bright like-minded individuals who, unbeknownst to him, would become the fierce Machete Mobbers. They gathered daily for a director-facilitated orientation familiarizing them with the city and the escapade that was to come. The orientation consisted of group meetings in which values of Kalu Yala, the directors and fellow interns were expressed, fallowed by “scavenger hunts” out in the city. All was good in the quaint pink house but Boss Man and the others were itching to explore the jungles of Panama, a new world that they would call home for the next three months.
A bus hauled the giddy group into San Miguel, a small 500-person village. Johnny, the fabulous cook of the Machete Mobbers, made a quick lunch to fuel the intern’s for the semi-strenuous hike to base camp. Leaving the community-wellness interns in San Miguel, Boss Man and the Machete Mobbers trekked into the jungle.
Screams and hollers filled the valley as they crept up to base camp. “Finally!” Boss Man thought as he set his gear on the dusty earth. A couple posts, a bench and a few tables comprised the camp. No time was wasted as they went strait to work. With limited tools, the Mobbers began to create vital structural elements. Machetes became their best friend. The versatile tool was used to clear paths, harvest and split bamboo, cut down palm ferns and even to cut down trees for posts, as there was no axe. Ergo, the Machete Mobbers were born.
The day was sent off by the calls of howler monkey and as night fell the jungle came alive. With a headlamp, reflections of eyes popped out from everywhere. Snakes watched them from the trees with ninja-like discrepancy. Thousands of spiders’ eyes glared back as if the stars had fallen on the ground. The laughs of the Mobbers overtook any worries as they relaxed after a hard days work. The first night was unusually cold but refreshing.
The river provided much needed leisure and hygiene. A little sandy beach was only yards away from base camp. A small waterfall, deep banks and a healthy riparian zone made the river quite an attraction.
More construction on base camp fallowed the next five days. Hikes out to the bamboo were accompanied by beautiful scenery. Stocks raised 60ft+ out of the ground, but was no match for their machetes. Bound together, the stocks were hauled on their shoulders, digging into their skin as they droned through the rough terrain. Floating the bamboo as they crossed the river gave short but appreciated relief. By the time the five days past walls, roofs and furniture had been conjured by the diligent work ethic of the Mobbers.
Boss Man’s natural bench made from Panama hat palm (carludovica rotundifolia), strawberry guava (psidium cattleianum) and left over wood from an unused post.
Boss Man evening out a panel made by splitting and matting common bamboo (bambusa vulgaris).
Boss Man and the Mobbers headed back to the city for technological resources, rest, and to tend to bug bites and sunburns. Four days were spent away from base camp, but was always an their minds. Stories were already accumulating and ideas flowed for projects in the valley. Spirits were high.
They started to pack their things to head back, even going a day early to ease the withdraw.
Stay tuned for they next chapter of
The Amazing Adventures of Boss Man and the Machete Mobbers!