Notes from March 2010

March 9, 2010 —

Today was mostly about working on PC projects in our office, which is really in my case a desk Anel made for me. Anel lives down the street and he produces various organic products.

In January our sector director asked me to head a project to import refurbished desktops. That is what I worked on today. This means writing letters.

But at noon I showed up at the local school, grades K-9. The government has been pumping money into IT, putting in computers and even internet access. But suddenly they decided not to send teachers. So here is a room with 15 computers (they are 15 short, so some of the computers I will import might show up here) and no teacher. So the principal told the teachers they all had to learn how to use and teach computers. Most of them do not know anything. So Peg and I are going to teach them at least the basics.

Today however was the first day of school and although the principle decided that we should start today, when I arrived things were too chaotic. So he will call when they are prepared.

March 8, 2010

March 8, 2010 —

Yesterday morning a volunteer friend and I drove to a cabaña high in the mountains (between 8000 and 9000 feet).  This is a good spot to see birds.  Saturday evening we walked into the forest for about an hour.  We heard a lot of birds and saw few.  Neither of us are birders and other than having a book on Panamanian birds and binoculars we are of little use to one another.   While sitting on the deck overlooking the valley, however, I saw what I think was a female quetzal. In the slide show are some of the birds I saw during my previous with Sarah, a true birder.

Sunday morning we not only heard many birds but had 6 good sightings of brightly colored birds plus a few hummingbirds.  This does not count the more run of the mill birds, such as the swifts that were flying about the cabaña.  Most of these sightings were near the forest edge and around the house.

We saw only a single monkey, a spider, but we heard howlers.

Starting at 4 (really at 4:40 by the time people showed up) there was a meeting of our local group.  It lasted until a bit after 8 p.m.!  They were about to start a project to plant a heap of celery and other crops.  The plot of land is an hour walk each way.  One member convinced the others to have each member dedicate a plot for an organic project.  The members will help one another prepare the soil and the like.  Each member will otherwise be responsible for the work and will receive whatever income results.  Organic produce, even if not certified, brings a better price.

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