While I was in Pre-Service Training, I learned about a cool chick in the group before mine who learned how to make hammocks. I thought it was really cool and I set out to learn how once I moved into my own house. Mostly the teenage boys make them, while the girls make chacaras (traditional purses). But as I already bend the gender norms here, I knew it wouldn’t be an issue for me to make one. Around January I asked my 16 year old friend Hermelio, who passed away this past July, to teach me the ropes. He was such a patient and clear teacher. It took a while to pick up the technique but eventually I got it. So as to not forget, I set out for three days straight making the hammock. It became meditative and a great conversation starter when visiting neighbors.
The trickier part was actually making sturdy enough straps! Each time I hung the hammock, kids would sit in it and fall straight on their bums. Luckily it wasn’t an abuelo! Finally I used a really durable rope that Preston brought to Panama. Ever since, no one has fallen…cross your fingers. I sit in it less than I thought I would, mainly because I am always rushing around. If Preston were still here, I know he would tell me to stop go go going and read a book in the hammock I spent hours making. Anyhow, it was really fun to learn and I’ll always think fondly of my friend and teacher when I use it.