Friday, October 31, 2014

Cinco Aleatorio

1)  Postmate, Kind of -- I don't have a postmate, but I do have a fellow PCV named Kelsey who's not too far from my post, but more in the countryside.  I recently attended one of her recycling charlas, complete with old fashioned, roll-out paper presentations and an icebreaker:


It was quite motivating to see such enthusiastic community members, making suggestions, coming up with solutions, etc.

2)  Como se dice "sorcelery" -- Baseball is big down here in Panama and one of the students in the office asked me who I thought would win Game 7 of the World Series.  I wanted to say that whoever had their mojo going would win.  I didn't know how to say 'mojo' in Spanish, so I ended up not making a prediction.  Either way, looks like the Giants had their mojo going.  Note:  I had an idea what 'mojo' meant, but not its precise definition.  According to the Oxford dictionary, it means magic charm or spell.  Sounds like sorcery to me. 

3)  Ser o No Ser -- one thing I do to improve my Spanish is by reading books.  That's what was great about Guadalajara, Mexico -- the bookstores were everywhere.  At the regional capital here in Panama, not so much.  The only books I could find are school books.  So, as much as I love the classics, its also nice to read newer books like those by Malcolm Gladwell or J.K. Rowling in Spanish.  Since I didn't have much of a selection here, I ended up buying Hamlet.  They also had Plato, but that might take a while to finish since that's probably already hard to understand in English, let alone Spanish. 

4)  Sustainable Aid -- Back in Cameroon, I was influenced by a fellow PCV named Jeff.  He was of the belief that we should not do any funded projects.  Not one.  Zero.  We should only be teaching techniques (eg agricultural techniques) and sharing ideas.  He saw projects that required outside funding as handouts.  He even wrote about it in our newsletter.  He draws influence from William Easterly and Roland Bunch.  I agree with him to some extent.  As they say, "Give a man fish…"

5)  Quote of the day -- "This is a sub-Saharan Spring and it must continue against all the presidents who are trying to hang on to power in Africa."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Casi Dos Meses

1)  Throwback For my Mom -- something that's religious and that doesn't involve me hiking volcanoes or crossing the Mexican border:

Semana Santa in Guatemala a few months ago
2)  Reduce, Reuse, Refuse? -- I was at a shopping center in the regional capital and I told the cashier I didn't need a bag for my purchase.  She said store policy requires that I accept the bag.  En serio?!

3)  Speaking of Bags -- Well, I guess the former SF tour guide is not a total D-bag after all.   She owned up to her racist comments and apologized.  She said she would like to work with the Chinese community to mend relations.  Hmm... not sure how she'll do that, but it should be interesting.  She should probably do something that doesn't involve a microphone.

4)  Quote of the day -- "What I do know is there are 12 presidents in Africa who credit a Peace Corps volunteer with starting them on the path to the presidency."  Paul Biya is probably not one of them.  Mind-blowing fact:  Peace Corps has been in Cameroon for 50+ years and during that time, Cameroon has only had 2 presidents.

5)  Teaching English -- my colleagues at my partner organization wanted me to teach them English in a classroom type setting so I willingly obliged.  It was a short class, but it was quite fun.  I think I've found my calling.  Either this or selling recycled crafts.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Who Doesn't Love Parades?

1)  Paul Allen -- Seahawks owner gives $100 million to fight Ebola.  Nice of this billionaire to give back to society some of that $390 million that US taxpayers paid to help build that football stadium in Seattle. 

2)  Internet Commenters -- I sometimes read articles just so I can see reader comments, usually the ones that are Most Liked.  Not sure if that's good or not.  Anyway, the comments for a cyberstalking article were kind of funny while the ones for the Zero Waste Wedding were surprisingly negative. 

3)  Photo Op -- A Parade in Chitre in honor of the city's founding:

4)  Throwback from Cameroon -- taking a moped on a long trip through the bush with a buddy is probably not a good idea.

5)  Throwback from Cameroon #2 -- PCVs Justin and Lauren at the same place at the same time.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

El Ambiente al Puesto

1)  Clean Up Day  -- cleaning up the streets at post with students and teaching them to separate recyclables from the trash.

2)  Sugar Cane For Your Soda

As the song goes, "I can see for miles and miles and …
3)  Enviro Ed --  teaching elementary school students how to reuse/recycle plastic bottles.

4)  Laptop Case Update --  my laptop case made out of potato chip bags/candy wrappers is almost done.
A lot of these potato chip bags/candy wrappers have the recycle sign even
though most of them end up in the landfill.  Ironic, don't you think?
5)  Alligator Tears? -- This baby alligator is looking sad probably because of everyone dumping their trash in it's lake. 

Please donate.  Or just stop littering.

Friday, October 24, 2014

¡Alla La Vida!

1)  Spanish Subtitles -- Lately I've been watching TV shows or movies without Spanish subtitles.  Its time for me to stop relying on subtitles.  There's no subtitles in real life.  Either I understand it or I don't.  I need to figure it out for myself. 

2)  Cardio for the day -- planting plantains with some students:

3)  Songs to air drum to -- Rancid's Journey to the End of the East Bay, Smashing Pumpkin's Cherub Rock, U2's All I Want is You (the live version), The Police's Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.  I need to meet a drum teacher in town.  Supposedly, there's one who plays at church. 

4)  Three News Articles -- A short history of the media and the Washington team, the D-bag (former) tour guide, and an eco-friendly wedding.  Also, the headline (Reuse, Recycle, Romance) couldn't be any better. 

5)  Possible careers in the Philippines -- start a recycling business, teach people how to make recycled crafts, sell recycled crafts, teach (Latin American) Spanish or French (with a Cameroonian accent), teach English to Koreans (or other foreigners), and of course, Peace Corps. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

I Wrote a Blog Post and You'll Never Believe What Happened Next

Well, I posted it.  That's what happened next. 

1)  Side Gigs -- I was listening to my brother's senior recital from his saxophone playing days.  He had a pretty good original piece there.  You know, bro, Joshua Redman was accepted to Yale law school but ended up deferring.  The rest is history.  Just sayin'.

2)  Enviro Ed Topic? -- There's nothing like trying to read an article in Spanish about making plastic bags from cow farts.  If there is, you'll have to tell me.  I wonder what my counterparts think of this. 

3)  Dinero -- When I left Cameroon, I made the mistake of not converting about $200 worth of CFA into dollars.  So if anyone's going to Cameroon and you're passing by Panama or if I'm going to see you when I'm visiting the US, I gots what you need.  I'm just glad I don't have to exchange currency in Panama since I can use the US $ here. 

4)  Question(s) of the Day -- How is it that most of the supermarkets in my town (and apparently in most of Panama) are owned by the Chinese?  Supermarkets are so associated so much with the Chinese that the locals call the supermarkets 'Chino'.  e.g. "you can buy X at the Chino."  How have they come to dominate the supermarket business?  Are they all part of a business association?  Do they get incentives back home to set up shop in Panama?  More importantly, where did they learn Spanish?  Well, I suppose I can always just ask them these questions instead of wondering on my blog.   
An ethnic Chinese student in Panama with my counterparts.
5)  There's friends and then there's Facebook friends --  Every once in a while, I unfriend/block people on Facebook.  Although I realize now that that's a little harsh for some of them.  Some, not all.  I probably should've just unfollowed some of them.  Its just weird to be Facebook "friends" with some people I've never met in real life or with people I barely know.  Come to think of it, using words like "unfriend" and "unfollow" is weird.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sabado Cinco

1)  PC cars -- I had blogged a while back about how PC vehicles should be more environmentally friendly and lo and behold, PC is starting to recruit applicants with a Smart car.  Its a start, I suppose. 

2)  Question of the Day -- How do you find a job in the Philippines (let alone a job in one's field), a country that is known more for exporting human labor than for creating jobs? 

3)  Béisbol -- hehey.  Giants are back in the World Series.  They must be doing something right.  I generally root for the A's, because of their underdog story, with Moneyball being one of my favorite books.  But the A's always falter in the playoffs.  So my 2nd favorite team will have to be the Giants.  Why not?  The Bay Area has been kind of a 2nd home for me. 

4)  Recycled Laptop Case -- my counterpart can make coin purses out of candy wrappers/potato chip bags, but I wanted to make a laptop case using the same material.  I searched online and, of course, its already been done.  But what the heck, I want one, so I'll just make my own with the help of my counterpart:

A few more days (and a bunch more potato chip bags) and it should be done.

5)  Salud!
As Robin Hood once said with a US accent: 
 "We have much to celebrate."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


1)  Quote of the day -- "The NFL has had an inappropriate language penalty in its rule book, and this year is having officials enforce it with an emphasis on eliminating racial slurs."   Unless of course when the racial slur is also the name of an NFL team. 

2)  Currently reading -- the Spanish version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (La Cámara Secreta).  Vocab that I learned in the book that I'll probably never use in real life:  pergamino, which means parchment. 

3)  Advantage of a dumb phone -- my dumb phone has this really cool app, where I only need to charge my phone once and it lasts for 3-4 days.  Its pretty cool. 

4)  Floyd Mayweather -- I watched a Mayweather fight for the first time several weeks ago.  The one against Maidano.  Man, that was a boring fight.  I can see now how Mayweather has had such a long career.  Then again, if it wasn't boring, then somebody was probably getting their head bashed in.  Ah, boxing. 

5)  A Day at the Office
Come Visit Me. Yes.  Here.  In Panama.
 6)  Cameroonian English -- I was wearing a shirt from Cameroon that said "Join us improve the environment" and a counterpart was reading it out loud, trying to learn English.  I told him its probably not a good idea to learn English from that shirt. 

7)  Just Like Lebron -- Talked to my mom last night.  Looks like I'll be moving back to the Philippines next year after I finish my service in Panama.  Not sure how useful a TEFL certificate would be over there.  Probably not very.