Sometimes, you just need a break, and when you're a Peace Corps volunteer away from your family, friends, and culture, there is no better break than taking off to an island with a big group of fellow PCVs who may or may not constitute nearly 100% of the gringo population in rural Panama.
After a successful community meeting, about 20 volunteers in my region spent the weekend on Isla Colón, celebrating the newbies making it through their first 3 months and the also saying farewell to an incredible volunteer who has been this year's regional leader. Since Saturday also happened to be Founder's Day, the island was packed with marching bands, parades, street vendors, and Panameñans partying well into the night.
The marching bands traveled from all over the province to march in style in their bright uniforms, which are very different from those of US based bands. The girls were all in short skirts or dresses with heels or heeled boots (how do they march in those?!) and many wore fun hats or hair accessories and wrapped decorations such as feather boas around their musical instruments. The peach costumes below were some of my favorites; if only the rainy day didn't make the photos so dreary!
I'm so thankful that I have the opportunity to serve in such a fun and beautiful country. Weekends like this go a long way in refreshing me; but when you're surrounded by so many awesome people who know exactly what you're going through, how could it not?
To cap off the night, we took a short boat ride to a bar on the neighboring island where we were able to play on swings that swung right into the Caribbean Sea. It was such a fun night, and one that I hope will be repeated many times in the upcoming 2 years!
Next week I'll be heading to the mountains of Chiriquí for our annual Volunteer Thanksgiving, and in a short month my dad arrives for a glorious visit from home. Though I'm trying really hard to soak up every moment and not wish my time away, I have to admit that I'm quite excited from December to get here :)