It has been a busy couple of weeks and I have strayed away from writing regularly on my blog. So I am going to try to get back on schedule, but sometimes it can be difficult now since I have become webmaster/comptroller for my husband’s business – expatimports.com even though I am retired. No complaints here, just am trying to balance my life between work and relaxation.
A week ago last Sunday, Pedasí hosted their annual triathlon. The race consists of first swimming at Playa Arenal-the fishing beach; then ride a bicycle from the beach past Pedasí to Las Cabezas, a small village several kilometers south and then back to the center of Pedasí; where then the participants run to Playa Toro (about 2-3 kilometers) and back to the town square. (Thanks to my friend Brenda with her permission, I am able to post some pictures.) Each year the participation increases. This year Mikkel and I hosted a participant in our home for the weekend, a young man from Volcan, which is west of Boquete and David toward Costa Rica. Also this year, Animal Advocates of Pedasí hosted a Pancake Breakfast during the race at “La Cancha de Municipal” (the municipal basketball court) located a block away from the finish line. A lot of preparation is required for such a small fundraiser: obtaining permission from the alcalde (mayor); purchasing food & drink, paper goods, etc.; arranging volunteers for cooking, selling, cleaning, serving, and lending us kitchen supplies such as electric tabletop stoves, pans, blenders, bowls, utensils, etc.; printing and distributing flyers; advertising in the local paper; etc.,etc., etc. For a couple of weeks before the event there were a lot of emails back and forth as well as a few shopping trips. Then getting up at the crack of dawn to transport all the supplies over and start setting up and cooking. All-in-all we had fun in spite the fact that we did not make very much money in the end. Most people-participants and those rooting them on were not from Pedasí and not aware of the Pancake breakfast or even where “La Cancha” was. Even if it was only a block away, there were several other food vendors at the town square where the finish line and final festivities were held. So we know now that the triathlon probably was not a good event to have a pancake breakfast in “La Cancha”. Selling smoothies in the town square would possibly be better, but then we would still need electricity which is available at “La Cancha”. With a lot of supplies left over, we plan to do it again; next time during the “Plaza del Mercado” in December, which Animal Advocates hosts bi-annually, again at “La Cancha”. The locals love a good flea market/yard sale/craft fare.
Six days later, last Saturday and Sunday, Animal Advocates then sponsored another Spay/Neuter clinic. This time it was with “Fundación Saint Francis de Asis”. They are another organization in Panama, funded by “Machetazo”, a supermarket chain in Panama, similar to Walmart in the U.S. The difference is that instead of bringing a busload of supplies and veterinarians who set up the clinic outdoors, the bus is the clinic; surgeries all done inside with air conditioning run by their own generator and parked next to Pedasí’s veterinarian clinic where we could use part of the store for recovery after surgery. The veterinarians and their assistants do practically all the work. We just needed a few volunteers to collect money and assist the pet owners and pets during recovery. Again, many emails were passed back and forth in planning the event, but not much needed to be purchased. And a few of our volunteers went out and brought in ferrel cats and dogs. As is customary in Pedasí to announce events or food for sell out of trucks, Animal Advocates chose to do as the Panamanians do; we purchased a bullhorn, recorded the announcement, and then last Friday and Saturday drove around the pueblo repeating the announcement about the clinic up and down many streets. And again I was up at the crack of dawn each day to set up and receive animals. Oh how I hate to get up so early. But it is for a good cause. 64 (34 cats & 30 dogs) were sterilized within the 2 days in spite of the heavy rain on Saturday and the street being blocked off by the electric company trucks and personel who were installing a new electric line all along the road to help offset the demand for the growing gated communities down near the ocean. That means 64 animals who will be healthier and will not propagate anymore unwanted kittens or puppies. Most people paid the full asking price of the vets which was well discounted and after receiving a rather large anonymous donation, Animal Advocates did not have to subsidize any animals for this event. The hotel rooms were also donated along with lunches for the veterinarians and their assistants. Another successful and less stressful clinic for the Pedasí district.
I thought I could sleep in and take it easy for a few days, but it so happened on Monday morning we were up early to rent a car for the day and go shopping in Las Tablas and Chitré, stocking up on supplies that will last for the next month. The next morning, we again got up early and returned the rental car. Then it was taking care of some local business at the municipal office, buying local eggs, and eventually back to the local post office after working on the website and completing orders for our business. It amazes me how inexpensive it is here to send a package to the U.S. So far I have never paid over $3.00 which also includes “certified” mail (Panama’s own tracking system). Yesterday I slept in a little finally, but knew a young man who Mikkel hired to help in the garden was coming some time and some other friends were coming at 9:30am. Today my housekeeper came at 8:00am, so maybe I will get some rest tomorrow morning before “Game Day” with some friends in the afternoon and a Halloween Party at Smiley’s that evening. And then there is the “Desfile de Las Carretas” (Cart Parade) on Saturday, but I will write about that later. This is the beginning of the “high season” with more tourists coming and November is full of Panamanian holidays. Lots of festivities to come; it’s never dull in Pedasí. Retirement certainly does not mean just laying around doing nothing.