Sunday, March 9, 2014

Happy Lent!

Sorry for the hiatus from my blog…again! There has been SO MUCH happening over here in Panama,  starting with the 94th Convention of the Episcopal Church held in Chitre, Herrera! 

First day of Convention started off with the Damas de la Iglesia Episcopal (Women of the Episcopal Church). These women brought lots of great ideas and lots of energy!

The Bishop presented us and allowed us to explain our program and what we were doing in Panama
 Patricia de Lewis and Luis Caceres, Principal and Chaplain of St. Christopher's Episcopal School (where I work!), presenting the new blog/web page for Christian Education - super exciting!
The day after the women's meetings was a day for tourism and a couple of other meetings. Then, Saturday was the main day of Convention that was full of meetings, presentations and discussions. Representatives from Episcopal Churches all over Panama attended, sharing their accomplishments from the past year as well as ideas for the next year. The theme of this year's convention was taken from Psalm 119:133, "Dios de Vida, enseñame tu Palabra y afirma mis pasos." (God of life, teach me your word and affirm my steps.") 
On Sunday we got to travel further into the interior of Herrera to a church called San Antonio for closing service. There were so many people that the church was overflowing - a huge success! 
The best choir

Acolytes in the service

The crazy part is that school started the day after Convention ended! The good news is that this year, I only teach 320 kids as opposed to 506 kids. This makes a huge difference and I have had a great start back to school. I have been feeling very prepared and confident, so hopefully these good vibes will continue! Here is quick photo shoot we had of the first day back:

Oops! That one got a little bit blurry
But, in true Panamanian fashion, a holiday was well on the way. After we spent one week in school, it was time for Carnaval! For those of you who don't know, Carnaval takes place at the same time as Mardi Gras, but it is SO much bigger! In Panama, people spend the entire year planning for it. One part of Panama called "Las Tablas" is where the biggest celebration is held. Almost the entire country packs up and heads to Las Tablas. 

I wasn't planning on traveling for Carnaval since I had been traveling so much for other things such as Convention and renewing my visa, but I soon realized that was not an option. Almost everyone at work said that I MUST travel, and it was not an option to stay in the city. So, along with my friend and other YASCer Joseph, I packed up and headed to Bocas del Toro, Panama for a quick trip. Here are some pictures of the trip:

Los Diablos de Bocas del Toro - during Carnaval, people dress up as devils and carry whips. During Carnaval, the street is the territory of Los Diablos. If you enter inside of the white lines, you could get whipped!

One belief is that the diablos represent the Spanish Conquistadors, whereas another belief is that the diablos are stemmed from the days of slave masters whipping the slaves

As long as you stay out of the white lines, they're harmless!  

La Reina de Bocas del Toro (The Queen of Bocas del Toro)!

Bocas del Toro didn't just have Carnaval. They had beautiful beaches as well! This is called Red Frog Beach.

Playita (Little Beach)
As soon as I got back from my trip, it was time to go back to work! The next few weeks will be full of planning and entering grades. Back to a normal schedule!

But don't worry, we still find some time to have fun!
Thanks for reading!

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