July 15, 2009
On the morning of July 2, 2009, I left Panama City for the town where I will spend the next 2 years in the Los Santos Province. My site is quite beautiful, is 5 minutes from the beach and is known for its rich folklore and culture. It also hosts the Panama’s biggest musical festival in late September. Groups from all over Panama travel here to compete in dance and music competitions. Also in the town is close to the home of one of the biggest Carnival Festivals in all of Central America (in February). If you plan on visiting me in Panama — come then, it will be guaranteed fun.
My counterparts in site are wonderful and as excited as I am to work together. My two jobs will be to teach English to the tourism group and to increase the tourism at my site. In addition, I may also teach English in the local school. Although I would rather teach English to the maestros (teachers) and teach classes “hombro a hombro” (shoulder to shoulder) so that when I leave, English will be sustainable in the community.
I have been lucky because I have had great experiences with my host families (while in training in Santa Clara) and while in site. They have gone out of their way to make me feel at home and the accomodations abd food have been a lot better than what some of my friends have faced.
July 8, 2009
Buenas! After 10 weeks of intense Spanish and technical training in Santa Clara, I am officially a Peace Corps Volunteer. On the afternoon of June 26, 2009, I (along with the rest of Peace Corps Panama Group 63) was sworn in at the U.S. Ambassador’s house in Panama City. The event was pretty official and attended by the entire Peace Corps Panama staff (including PC Regional Leaders), the U.S. Ambassador to Panama and Panama’s Vice President Navarro. The ceremony and the meet and greet was wonderful.
US Embassy in Panama City
Group 63 Post Swear-In Ceremony: Official Peace Corps Volunteers
Following the ceremony, the entire group went back to Ciudad Del Saber for a few days final training seminars. After training ended, we were given a few days of so some my closest friends and I checked into a nice hotel in Panama City and enjoyed a nice little vacation. Our hotel had a nice roof top pool with a beautiful view of the skyline. And I got to have a little taste of home — Indian food. The food was great, but nothing compared to my mom´s homemade dinner.
View of Panama City from the Roof
Panamanian Indian Food at Masala (with some of my favorite PCVs)
May 10, 2009
Greetings from Panama.
3 weeks into my journey and here’s my first blog post. We arrived in Panama on April 22nd and had a few days of training right outside of the city. We then moved to our training site where we will be living with our host family for the next 10 weeks. My host family is great. They are so friendly and very helpful with everything. Training days are tiring- 8 hours of class combined with 95+ degree weather makes for a great night of rest.
My first glimpse of Panama City
The culture here is fantastic. The food, music, soccer and people are awesome. This past weekend I visited a volunteer in an Embera Indgenous site and had an absolute wonderful time. It took an hour bus ride and then a 45 minute river boat journey to get there.
Arriving at an Embera site.
My TEA Group at Embera
My Spanish is slowly but surely coming along. I hope to become fluent in these next 10 weeks of training. I have made some great friends here in Panama. My tourism and english advising group is full of wonderful people and we all seem to get along great. We are all very anxious to be finding out our site placements in the next few weeks.
I will make sure to add some photos here later this week when I have another chance to get on the internet. I miss you all and can’t wait to have more time to share my journey with you all in more detail. Until then—-ciao!
April 20, 2009
Ready to Go Right Now.
I discovered today that I’m taking 80lbs of necessities! Not so bad for a 27 month trip, huh?
I am leaving for DC tomorrow morning and will spend the day meeting fellow Peace Corps trainees. My flight to Panama City departs at 5AM on Wednesday morning. First, we will be picked up by Peace Corps staff who will take us to Ciudad del Saber (City of Knowledge), which is located 35kms outside of the Capital. I’ll be there for a 5 day orientation. Then on Sunday, we will move to our training site. I will be be there for 10 weeks and get to live with a host family. Training consists of 48 hour work weeks, and will be focused mainly on learning Spanish, Panamanian culture and history. At the end of the 10 week training, I will officially become a Peace Corps Volunteer.
I’ll be sure to post to this site, whenever possible. Until then, happy reading!