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Flight Information/ New, Updated Itinerary

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Flight information for upcoming flight to the USA:

Flying Continental Airlines, Panama City to Houston Texas on Monday, April 21st, departing Panama at 9:43 am. FLIGHT NO. CO873

Flying Continental Airlines, Houston, TX to San Francisco, on Monday April 21st, departing Houston at 5:55 pm, arriving at 8:07 pm. FLIGHT NO. CO307

Updated Itinerary:

In the USA until May 6th. departing for Madrid, Spain on May 6th.

Walking the Camino de Santiago for in 45 days. End target date:June 22nd or 23rd. A few days of R and R, and then meeting Jerry(boyfriend), in Santiago. About 16 days of traveling thru Spain and Portugal, followed by flight to London.

Flying out of Barcelona to London, on July 9th. A few days in London, then on to Derbyshire, to the Kadampa Buddhist monastery in Derby. Volunteering there for 6 weeks or a bit less.

Heading back to London to get my Visa for India, as well as hop on a plane to Paris, flying into Paris on Sept 3rd.

 Meeting Parisian friend Sonia in Paris and staying with her for a few days, as well as meeting up with Sande, a friend from Winters, California.

Sande and I travel thru France, making our way to my friend Leyla´s house in France.(near the Swiss border and Geneva). Hoping to relax here and travel around a bit and eat yummy food.

Taking a train to a small French city close to the border of Germany, where I´ll be meeting Carolin (who I´m currently working with in Panama). We´ll be spending the next 5 to 7 days together, hopefully looking at some of the beautiful natural sights of Germany, such as the Black Forest. Also I hope to go beer tasting and learn to make these German noodles shes always talking about.

October 1st, Carolin driving me into Zurich, Switzerland, where I catch a plane to Calcutta, India, which unfortunately has one stopover in Dubai.

Planning on spending at least 3 months straight in Calcutta, working with Mother Theresa´s Sisters of Charity. I also have plans to work for some other groups as well while there, as I will actually be in the area for 8 months. I may end up only working with the Sisters, however as they have alot of needs there.  I hope to visit the Bengal Tiger Preserve in West bengal(Calcutta is the capital), and hopefully do some volunteer work in Nepal. I also want to visit Bhutan and Bangladesh.

On April 1st, flying to Bangkok, Thailand.

That´s all that´s written in stone so far!


What Am I Doing Here?

Friday, April 11th, 2008

This entry is basically an update on what I´m doing here for the next 10 days, what I´m doing when I get home, and some general thoughts about my future.

Right now I´m in David, hoping to rest peacefully tonight in the Purple House Hostal. I´m not a shared dorm sort of person, but my friend Carolin is with me, so I´m sure it will be a nice time. we are actually going to drink some beer tonight (she´s German, after all!) as well as fruits (gasp!) and vegetables(gasp!). I am feeling somewhat lethargic and puffy after a this weeks diet of yucca a million ways.

We´re heading back to Soloy on Sunday, where I plan on making an early birthday dinner for one of my favorite people I´ve met so far on this trip-Dennis, the peacecorp guy who took me to the hospital when I had giardia.

Monday morning, at the early hour of 3 am, we´re heading off to Cerro Lemon, where I visited in the past and learned about the challenges of the Ngobe living in the mountains. This time, however, we will be holding a large community meeting of several communities to talk about the possibility having some latrines be built up there-as well as the bridge project.

The bridge project has really started to take shape. Thanks to those of you who have offered help-from Buddhist monks living in Thailand to Girl scouts in Alabama, I appreciate all those offers of help. I´m sorry I haven´t had time to address them yet, but I will once I am back in the States. I plan on taking alot of photos of the current bridge(tree trunk), proposed site for the real bridge, and innterviewing the communities about how the current lack of a bridge is affecting their day to day lives.( How many accidents, deaths, and children not attending school, and so on). The goal would be to turn this into an information package and then send it to interested parties (and large organizations) who would like to help with the project in some way.

Dennis is also helping me with finding some folks to help build the bridge who have experience in small scale suspension bridge building. I´m also going to have him price the materials for the bridge, and the cost of getting them there..

I´ll keep you updated, and when you read the entry about the project (once I am in the States) contact me again if you are interested in helping in any way, however small.

Carolin, the new volunteer who is here will be accompanying me to Cerro Lemon. This time however, we will be visiting many other communities-some as far as 10 hours away from Cerro Lemon. It promises to be an adventure filled 4 or 5 days. And, luckily my water purifier part arrived in the mail in David- so we won´t be drinking bean water this time around!

Carolin is absolutely wonderful, and we have decided to meet up after my visit to France and see a bit of Germany-maybe climb a mountain and see some of the Black Forest-and of course, beeer tasting. I feel so lucky to have met someone here who is such a lovely travel companion and who is very courageous and brave.

Another big project while in the mountains is to interview and photograph the Ngobe medicine women. There is ahuge wealth of information about natural plants and healing, and unfortunately this practice is dying out with the availibility of Western medicine. I also hope to create some packets of information for them, using drawings, about how to prepare for birth and what to do after the baby is born.

After I get back from Cerro Lemon, I´ll be heading over to the local nun´s house for some R and R-like an actual shower! We spent a night at their nunnery in Volcan(although it only had two nuns, so that´s not really a nunnery!) and they were very kind, peaceful women who took wonderful care of us. We´re going to spend the night there, and then..

Just trying to finish up lose ends, of which there are many. I need to interview some young women  for a paying short term job that is coming up in May, and make sure all the coming volunteers are coordinated and know what their jobs will be on arrival. I´m also working with Carolin alot to make sure she is prepared to take over the classes I´ve been teaching, and prepared to be on her own for awhile here until the next bunch of volunteers arrive.

The biggest project I have worked on here is the homestay project-something I feel very positive about, both for the coming volunteers and the positive impact on the community. My last night here, we have organized abig dinner for the host families where we will go over all of the rules for families and volunteers one last time, and answer any questions. Everyone is very excited.

Then I will hop on a bus for Panama City, and hopefully within 24 hours, have the blessing of having my father pick me up at the airport.  I plan on spending a day with my parents and then heading..home.

Strangely, when I left my small town of Winters, I didn´t really consider it home. It was more like just a place I lived at the time. But now, after this time of traveling and challenges, I´ve come to look at Winters as home-as a place of peacefulness, a place where one says hello to everyone on the street, a place where I can have a nice cup of coffee in the morning and linger over the paper. I miss the landscape, the people, and even the tiny supermarket-which is funny, because before I was always disatisfied with what happened to be available there when I shopped, but after a diet of yucca and ..yucca…it seems like I will be overwhelmed by the selection of choices!

So I´m looking forward to visiting home, relaxing, and taking it easy for awhile-just about 10 days, actually. Then I set off to walk just under 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago, leaving for Spain on May 6th.

When I´m home I will be updating and changing the blog format, including putting photos in the blog that match the stories and also adding many journal entries, as well as entries from the mountain trip I am about to take.

Right now, I´m a little overwhelmed at the thought of Western culture, having lived in Central America for so long..I am very interested in how I will percieve my country and it´s culture. I´m feeling somewhat reflective and preparing for what I consider to be a very spiritual part of my trip-the camino-and I think this will affect how I see things as well.

I am however, looking forward to flushing, white toilets; hot showers; grocery stores; animals that are well fed(and people that are as well); music; movies; and non watery coffee. Oh, and salad….

Be back in about a week and a half!



Friday, April 11th, 2008
Okay, so it seems as though my battle with creepy crawlies is never ending here. Just as I think I´ve gotten rid of one parasite living off me, I discover I have another one! This last week I was itching my head ... [Continue reading this entry]

A Weekend In One Woman´s Finca

Friday, April 11th, 2008
I spent the entire past weekend with my Ngobe friend, Orsonia, and her very large family. I wasn´t spending time with her and her family just for fun-I was living with them for the weekend to see if they would be ... [Continue reading this entry]