The Outdoor Recreation Program here at Kalu Yala is looking bright for this summer. With sixteen interns who are passionate, dedicated and positive about working and being outdoors this is about to be an extraordinary semester. Here are some posts about the first week of the internship from the amazing OR Interns.
Bonnie says, “So far this has been a huge learning experience. Learning how to along with everyone, learning the rules and expectations here at KY, and learning from Steven. It’s been tough and we are all working hard, but it’s been great to see everything we’ve been able to do in such a short amount of time.”
Kristen says, “After moving to a new place that gives me new roommates, two adorable puppies, a river to shower in, and bugs galore, even after two weeks, I can say el Valle is my home. It’s been a rough two weeks nonetheless but everyone seems to be adjusting and projects are finally in the works. We’re lucky to have time in the city on weekends to utilize the internet for research and reconnecting with family and friends, and honestly it’s nice to have cold drinks at hand and air conditioning.
Sean says, “This past week has been a week of work, fun and bonding. With Stephen Brooks here, we planed 200 new trees and hundreds of small plants, transforming the landscape of the valley in the process. At nights we had great moments around the campfires with great music from people in our group, as well as from everyone’s iPods. It’s been a quick week, but there were many memorable moments and I am looking forward to the many more weeks to come.”
John says, “Steve. Paul. Plants. The first two weeks at Kalu Yala have been remarkable. I have been basking in the honeymoon phase and a group of us went late night swimming so I know this crew is a fun bunch. I feel 10 lbs lighter, but my heart feels much heavier with how much I care for the well being of this group. Outdoor Rec for life, Kalu Yala for life. Tropical Cowboy lifestyle.”
Maddy says, “My first days here have been, quite literally, wild. Everything about this place excites me and keeps me on my toes: from helping to build an entirely new garden to scaling rocks only to jump into a crystal clear river. With days filled with adventure and nights filled with campfires and games, I can’t wait to see what the next weeks have in store. I’m most looking forward to breaking ground on the new outdoor recreation park!”
David says, “In just 2 weeks, the summer 2013 Valley interns have: gone through orientation, become a family of caring individuals and completely transformed the farm. Creative minds across North America have come together and jumpstarted one of the most beautiful communities to reside in the mountains of Panama. Growing and learning from each other are just the beginnings of what these students will undergo in the Kalu Yala Valley.
Adam says, “After my first weekend in Kalu Yala, I find myself tired and refreshed all at the same time. Spending 4 days with Steven Brooks preparing, planting and finishing the garden and farm really opened my up to just what the Agriculture Program is getting into. As far as Outdoor Recreation goes I have started my research on the topography and vegetation to the Kalu Yala land in order to design the first three-mile mountain bike trail in the valley. I also recently decided to build a pump track in the recreation field, as this will be a way to get non-cyclists into the sport.”
Sarah says, “After spending the week focusing on permaculture under the guidance of Stephen Brooks and Paul Zink, I am so ready to begin envisioning Kalu Yala’s recreation park! We planted so many amazing trees and nitrogen-fixing plant varieties; it is really going to look fantastic here in a few years. The key will be to organize circulation and drainage for the space and I look forward to helping with the monumental task. We are creating healthy, beautiful spaces for people – and that is something to really be proud of.”
Rachel says, “Adjusting to the jungle lifestyle was more warmly welcomed by myself and those around me than I thought. Bathing in rivers and switching to a mostly vegetarian diet certainly isn’t my norm, but the opportunity has been worth it so far. I am, however, excited to get to the city for the weekend and enjoy some carnivorous food!
Izzy says, “I’m still getting used to waking up to howler monkeys howling, but so far living in the valley has been awesome. This week we had the opportunity to work with leading permaculturist Steven Brooks, which was very educational. I’m excited to get into our individual outdoor recreation projects. While in Panama City, I’ll be budgeting the low ropes course and planning retreats that will be based around the ropes course.
Peter says, “It was a crazy week. We had a plant smuggler come in. We did a lot of planting, but it really brought everyone together. We played a lot of valleyball (and won!), which was really fun. We split teams into north vs. south. I’ve been getting plenty of sun and exercise, so I’m looking forward to the transformation by the end of the summer – physically and mentally. A snake found its way into the rancho and I was surprisingly the only one that wanted to catch it. Thought it was pretty weird that all of these people living in the jungle are afraid of snakes.
Hatton says, “The south won in valleyball. I’m getting used to the veggie-heavy diet. My hands are becoming one big blister. I’m looking forward to going deeper into the jungle.”
Brian says, “It is here in the Jungle of Panama that I have found Home, Connection, Love and Determination. It is from the ever-striving Desire of my new Family that drive me each day to endure the heat, humidity and insects. Each day is met with Adventure and Hugs and it is here I hope to one day LIVE.”
Kyle says, “My dream has come true. I am in the beautiful jungles of Panama and surrounded by amazing people. Everyone is intelligent and passionate in what they do. This past week we had the privilege to have Steven Brooks visit and planting close to 300 exotic plants, trees and herbs. I learned many ways of organic farming and how many of these flora can be used either for food or medicinal uses. The garden looks completely different. It is much more aesthetically pleasing. It has been great out here in the jungle of Kalu Yala. I can’t wait to see what other accomplishments we all will accomplish next week.”
Stay tuned for next week’s blogs post to read more about the adventures of the Outdoor Recreation team.