*pictures of some of the former ladies of Kalu Yala. New picture coming soon!
As a Director in Kalu Yala, the best part of your job is the interns. They are talented, deeply intelligent, amazing friends, incredible leaders and hard workers and in my case…almost entirely female. As one of two males in a house with 19, yes 19 girls, is basically like living the plot of an upcoming NBC Sitcom. To put it simply: I live in a sorority house. I live in the middle of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood of Traveling Pants. It’s as if the cast of Ma Ma Mia the musical lived in a house together. It’s the Powerpuff Girls all grown up and living in rural Panama (that would have actually been a great episode). Sometimes the girl stuff rubs off on me…I’ve actually started growing my beard to remind myself I am a man after I teared up just at the thought of Ryan Gosling standing int the rain during the Notebook.
Who am I kidding? I love it. I love the dance parties and the songs. I think I’m on my way to doing what was previously thought impossible: kind of understanding women as a man. I’ve learned how girls sometimes give out compliments but they actually don’t mean something nice: “I could never not shower for 5 days like you Esteban, I really admire that.” I’ve learned a dance party to Rihanna can fix most things. I’ve learned that it’s good to hang out in a kitchen when people are cooking cause they tend to share. I’ve really learned to appreciate the TV show Friends. I’ve learned some people actually like Kesha and not in a sarcastic way.
I often get asked by other males in Kalu Yala Internships how I do it. They feel as though I should be awarded a Medal of Honor and Valor for retaining a shred of manliness and masculinity while infiltrating enemy territory.
But the fact of the matter is this: I like it. It’s fun. It’s easy. Girls make cookies. A LOT. Also, males swing by every now and then and Tomas, the sole male intern, and I have developed a bond that can only be developed through times of trials and difficulties.
So I know one day the beard will leave my face, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll remember this summer and still tear up at Ryan Gosling in the rain. Seriously, no one was around to hand him an umbrella?