Our week in Pedasí is quickly coming to a close. We’ve been enjoying our stay in this warm, welcoming town, and have kept quite busy discovering all that Pedasí has to offer! Below are some highlights of our week so far.
Daily Spanish classes have been going well. In addition to cultural lessons and lots of conversation practice, classes have included mini-excursions to spots around town, giving the students added opportunities to practice their Spanish and get to know Pedasí.
LIMPIEZA DE PLAYA
On Saturday, we participated in a cleanup of one of the local beaches. Our students collaborated with a co-ed local troop of Scouts, along with other local volunteers, to collect trash and sort out recycled materials. After the cleanup, our students and the Scouts got some time to hang out on the beach and enjoy a cookout together.
With the Scouts
DISFRUTAR EL MAR
The next day, we walked down to Playa el Toro together. We arrived at low tide, so students were able to explore the rocky coast, peek into tide pools, collect shells, and take a dip in the waves.
PROYECTO ECOLÓGICO DE AZUERO
Yesterday, we visited the Azuero Earth Project, a local non-profit that started up in Pedasí three years ago. We learned about AEP’s efforts, then spent a few hours working in their organic vegetable garden alongside volunteers from Panama and abroad. Together, we emptied a large garden bed that was full of rocks and a fungus that had been killing the plants. We then mixed new soil and completely refilled the garden bed. We also deconstructed a compost structure and rebuilt it in a shadier spot. AEP tells us our work was a huge help – without our efforts, it would have taken one of their volunteers a week and a half to complete this amount of work. Afterward, we celebrated with loud music, watermelon, chocolate cake, and delicious Panamanian popsicles made of fresh guayabana and cashew fruit.
Everyone before getting to work at AEP
Working hard at AEP
SOÑANDO CON ISLA IGUANA
We had to cancel our trip to Isla Iguana due to strong winds and choppy waves (weather which is common here in February, but usually subsides by March.) The past couple days have been calm and sunny, however, so we’re hoping to reschedule that adventure for Friday morning – we’d get to spend our last day of Spanish classes sitting in the gorgeous white sands of the isla, surrounded by palm trees, iguanas, and colorful crabs.
Students have enjoyed getting to know the town, playing basketball and soccer with local teens, and getting the life stories of visitors and expats from different countries. One day after class, students divided into teams to complete a scavenger hunt that had them talking to locals, investigating the history of the area, and taking fun pictures around town.
Learning about Pedasí’s history at the library
Jasper receives a makeover in the town plaza – a team effort.
We three profesoras have been staying with María Félix, an octogenarian born and raised in Pedasí, who lives around the corner from the school. The other day, she came home with two tiny parrot chicks. She is determined to raise them well: she painted a cage for them, feeds them by hand many times a day, and is excited to teach them how to talk once they are old enough.
AVENTURAS DE ATÚN Y BOSQUE
Yesterday, our group ventured out to Achotines tuna lab, where we toured the grounds, saw huge yellowfin tuna swimming in tanks, and learned from expert tuna biologists. Afterward, we enjoyed a dip in the ocean at the pristine Playa Venao before embarking on a hike through an area of dry forest, guided by Jairo from Azuero Earth Project, who brought along four local Pedasí High School students who volunteer with AEP. At the end of the long day, we gobbled up delicious paella and hamburgers at Eco Venao resort.
LIam makes at new friend at Playa Venao
PARA DECIOR ADIÓS Y GRACIAS…
Tonight, we’ll be having our fiesta de despedida with our Spanish teachers and host families. Rumor has it even the Mayor of Pedasí will be in attendance, as his girlfriend has generously offered to host our party in her home!