Peace Corps Panama

Hello, welcome to my blog. I created this blog as I am preparing to leave to Panama for the next 27 months. I will be serving as a Sustainable Agriculture Systems Extension Agent. I will try to keep my blog as updated as possible. Come Visit and Stay tuned so that I can share this experience with you.

Hola, Bienvenidos a mi Blog. Me estoy preparando para ir a Panamá los próximos 27 meses. Voy a estar sirviendo como agente de Sistemas sostenibles de Agricultura. Tratare de mantener este blog lo más actualizado posible. Vénganme a visitar. Manténgase informados con mi blog para que pueda compartir estas experiencias con ustedes.


Monday, March 23, 2009

4 weeks and 1 day left till my departure...

In 29 days I am going to be getting on a flight to Washington D.C. where I will meet the people that I will be embarking on this journey with me. All of us from completely different cultures, lifestyles, and paths and yet we have one thing that will bring us together…the US Peace Corps, destination-Panama.

From D.C. we will fly together to Panama City, then head to Cuidad de Saber for a couple days. A week or so after arriving in Panama, we will arrive at our training site. Those 10 weeks at the training site will be divided between language classes, culture classes, and technical/work training.

Past volunteers and letters that we’ve receive from the Peace Corps Office keep saying that this is a time in which we (the volunteers) are under much scrutiny. I don’t know if they are trying to instill fear in us that we don’t take this training lightly or if in fact this training period really is that mix of “college, Marine corps basic training, and a 90 day jail sentence.” I don’t really know the reasons behind why the others are following through with this choice. But to be completely honest, I don’t think I really know either. Sometimes I feel like I want to do something good for the world to make a little better, yet other times I’m more selfish and want the excitement of traveling and living an adventure.

Last night I was watching the Amazing race. Their challenge took them through India to the Tree of Knowledge. On their way there the contestants saw children eating trash along side the road, stray cows, dogs, and goats roaming the streets, and people who’s bodies were a skeletal cavity covered with some skin. These images got to some of the contestants and they started crying. Watching this made me wonder if I am strong enough to see real poverty. The Peace Corps will be paying us while we are abroad but just enough so that we can live like the people in our community, but even then, I know that this lifestyle will only be temporary. I hope that I don’t allow myself to become numb but instead try to help and learn as much from the people I meet.

It is easy to go into this trip with the mentality that I am going to save or help all the people that I meet. But in reality, I know I have so much to learn about the joys and happiness that come from a life of simplicity. I hope that this drastic change will allow me to strip off parts of me that have just been bogging me down that I thought were me, but in the end, really weren’t.


  1. A million things must be going through your head at such an exciting and scary time in your life. I am sure you will figure out how to get the best out of both sides of the experience: the "fun adventure" and the "making a difference". I love you, and am sometimes jealous that you are going to experience something that so few people have seen. Reading this from an office where there are many recent college grads starting their careers, it is so easy to get stuck in this world and think your life is so hard. Few of us will find the freedom in our lives to give two years to help the world become a little bit better.

    I love you, and I will miss you. I am sure that Panama will be greatful for you.

  2. Hellou!

    Ciudad del saber es una universidad que queda en la afueras de ciudad de Panamá muy cerquita a la parte turística de las exclusas del canal. Entonces no es muy grave por que estás prácticamente dentro de la ciudad. Moverse en ciudad de Panamá es super fácil, los taxis son baratos -a menos de que uno tenga acento de gringo o sea todo blanco y mono, así que no creo que te tumben los taxistas.

    Todavía no sabes para donde te van a mandar??

  3. "Sometimes I feel like I want to do something good for the world to make a little better, yet other times I’m more selfish and want the excitement of traveling and living an adventure."

    I've been having those exact same thoughts :-)

  4. Great idea on this blog Valeria! I am excited for the adventure that lies ahead for you. I look forward to sharing in your experience.