|Ship in the Gulf of Nicoya near Puntarenas, Costa Rica|
Blog Entry #57: The Final Flurry: Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, Roatán, and Final Exams!
Monday, December 12, 2011
|Headquarters of the Panama Canal|
Nineteen days after leaving Japan, with our Thanksgiving Day layover in Hawaii, we arrived in Puntarenas, Costa Rica’s main Pacific port. There is nothing quite like being at sea for nearly three weeks to give one a sense of just how big – and wide – the Pacific Ocean is! Our last couple days before Costa Rica we started seeing more signs of ocean life, as whales, dolphins, and sea turtles began to be spotted near the ship as we entered Central America’s coastal waters.
|Dan with Yusafin Jarquín Jacob in San José, Costa Rica|
|Yusa & Carlos Antonio at ULICORI|
Because we had so little time in Costa Rica, Pat and I decided to catch a bus to San José to visit members of the Jacob family, with whom I had lived 30 years ago when I was a graduate student at the Seminario Bíblico Latinoamericano. Then the ‘familia Jacob’ (ha-KOB) was a matriarchy headed by the indomitable Doña María and her seven daughters and one son, spread over 20 years from age 40-60. Only three of the daughters remain, now in their mid-80s.
|Carlos Antonio & son, Federico|
Pat and I were hosted by Yusa, eldest daughter of Nené, María’s 3rd daughter, and by her cousin Carlos Antonio, only son of Rosa Marta, daughter #5. Fortunately both of their mothers are still living, and it was wonderful to see them. Yusa is my age and we have staying in regular contact over the past 30 years – she is a lawyer and as full of exuberant energy as ever. Carlos Antonio, along with his cousin, Carlos Gabriel, were my constant companions when they were 8-year old mischief-makers 30 years ago (they delighted in teaching me “malas palabras” (swear words) and then setting gullible me on some unsuspecting person); today Carlos Antonio is a successful businessman and the vice-rector of the Universidad Libre de Costa Rica.
|Dan with the 3 Jacob sisters: Rosa Marta, Nené, & Salwa|
A highlight of the visit was spending time with the three remaining sisters – Nené, Rosa Marta, and Salwa, though is Rosa Marta is slipping further into dementia, a poignant reminder of our family’s journey with my mother these past few years (our visit to Costa Rica coincided with the one-year anniversary of her funeral mass).
Two days later we were traversing the Panama Canal, easily one of the most fascinating days we had while on the ship. Built by the U.S. over a decade from 1904 to 1914, the Canal measures 48 miles in length, and interesting traverses primarily from south to north going from the Pacific to the Caribbean, as this stretch of the Central American isthmus is nearly east-west.
|Sunrise over the Pacific at entrance to Panama Canal|
|Panama City skyline at dawn|
|Bridge of the Americas|
|Lock gates opening in the Gatún Locks|
|Centennial Bridge & Culebra Cut in the Panama Canal|
|Entering the Locks|
|Cargo ship in Panama Canal|
|Cargo ships enter Locks in the Panama Canal|
|Enjoying a trip through the Panama Canal|
|Harbor at Coxen Hole, Roatan|
|Garífuna dancers, Roatan|
|Half Moon Bay, Roatan|
|Pat during a rare non-rainy moment|
|Globalization class: Anthony, Reanna, Sidney, Alana, Will|
|Greening Religion: Tim, Stephanie, Keara, Evan, Logan, Rosie, Hanna, Caroline|
Kaitlynn, Darcy, M.C.; Front: Audrey & Sara
For me it was a dream come true to be able to teach these classes with a significant field portion, and to plan and execute some fascinating field trips, from the Goedgedacht Farm in South Africa that integrates sustainable agriculture with social justice for farm laborers, to the work of the Vietnamese university students on climate change through their 350.org chapter, and the eye-opening visit to the Foxconn mega-factory zone in Shenzhen, China.
|Nature & Society: Kevin, Robbie, Phoebe, Philip, Caroline, David, Kyla, Chad, Rayelle,|
Cristina, Meg, Brandy, Shelbi, Hollie, Hannah, Ashley
|Panama City skyline at dawn from the entrance to the Panama Canal|