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, May 11, 2009

Early morning thoughts...

I'm at Luna's Castle right now. I got in late to Panama City last night so a few of us decided to say here the night and then head back to Santa Clara early today after PANCAKE BREAKFAST that is served here!!!!!

The heat in the room last night was almost unbearable. We even had a fan and it still felt like a sauna. I got up like 4 times to pour water on hair, my feet....thank God it's morning!
This hostel is in Casco Viejo in the City. It is really hippy artsy cool place with exactly the type of people you would expect to meet at a place like this hahaha. There are people here from all over that look like the haven't showered in weeks but have wandered around central and south america for months. Just by looking at them you can tell there are a million interesting experiences and yet they didn't really talk to us. They kinda just did their thing, most read country guidebooks and played pingpong. I guess we will never know where their journey's have take them.
"Luna’s Castle only offers Dorm Beds at $12 a night including breakfast and
internet. A fully equipped kitchen and Internet are available 24/7 for all
guests to use. There is a theater and a cool balcony. They also have a
book exchange and many guide books available to study.

Some of you (Juan) have asked me to tell you more about the people that I am here in Panama with, so here it goes:
There are 47 in the group, about 40 of which I know their names, and about 15 that I hang out with the most, and 2 that have become really good friends with. Honestly, some things that have been going on in Santa Clara have been made bareable because of the great sense of humor this group has. Some ppl say the most random things but they make my day.
We have 4 hours a day of training specific to the sector we are in ( i am a SASer). There are 16 people in our group, all of which are really nice and hardworking. When we have to build stuff, they all jump in to help, no one stands around to watch (except me when i'm just so HOT and TIRED). There are times i pretend i'm holding something up, that doesn't need my support, but I do it anyway so it doesn't look like im not doing
All the guys in the group are really nice gentleman. Whenever we get back from anywhere and have to walk home, they walk all the girls home. Most of the people in the group are really good about not wandering around alone. I definitly try to not wander alone!

With the girls that I've gotten close with, we sit and vent to eachother about stuff we didn't expect, or weird things that happen that shouldn't, but we always remind eachother that we are not here for the US or for the Peace Corps or for Directors, we are here for ourselves. Talking last night we realized that though people think it is one of the most self-less decisions we've made, we actually think it is one of the most selfish decisions. We up and left everything and everyone we love and care about to come here to find personal fullfillment and meaning to our own lives, expecting everyone else in our lives to understand, keep loving us, and wait for us with arms wide open when we return.

Whether this is self-less or selfish...we are here and I hope to make the best of it. I was talking to Peter this weekend about those days where i am starving and just when i think im gonna die, someone offers me a mango or a slice of watermelon and i'm the happiest kid in the world.
So far that is what this experience has been and emotional tug-of-war. Situations push the limits of our comfort and test the strength of our morale, but just a halfstep away from breaking point, something great comes along; a joke, a piece of fruit, cold rain, or just a call from someone who loves you and reminds you that it's not all that bad.

In the next two weeks we will be finding out where our site is going to be for the two years after training! I am both excited and nervous! It is a crazy feeling NOT KNOWING where you will be living, what language they will speak (if it is an Indian Village), how long it will take to get to the nearest "grocery store", What kind of building materials will be in the area available to build my house with, how cooperative people in the community will be or how receptive they will be to my arrival. There are so many unknowns in my life right now. All i know right now is what I am doing this week (and by know what i am doing I mean I know where I need to be but I have no clue what challenges this week will bring or what I will learn.)

I know some people will read this and be jealous. But i'm writing it more so you appreciate the KNOWNS in your life. I don't mind it that much right now because I know this is only temporary. IMAGINE living your entire life not knowing what tomorrow will bring, if a crazy flash flood will wipe out ur house, if you get bit by a flesh eating mosquito and are too far from medical help to do anything about it, if your family's rice harvest got a plague and your only source of income is unsellable and you can't feed your family, if the aquaduct in ur community gets contaminated or the tubbings break, if you pig just rolls over and dies...
These are things these people here and all over the world deal with. Yet with all these constant unknowns in their lives, they live happy. They wake up at 4:30am (or earlier) and just do what they have to do. They live in places that some people only dream of visiting, they make things out of twiggs and sticks that you can't even buy in most places, and they live simply and practically with nature.
Hope you enjoy the posting. I have been reading the notes you all wrote me of encouragement...THank YOU for those!! Most of you say...ENJOY EVERY MINUTE...and i am really trying but it gets hard sometimes to smile when all u want to do is cry or be positive when you look around and see so many reasons not to be, or relax when you are SO HOT you just want to jump into an ice tank, but somehow, someway I'm pulling together and taking strength in your words and in memories of past adventures and dreams of the future when we will be talking about all this and laughing.

I miss you all. Please send me letters or pictures or candy...sour patch kids, sour worms, sour watermelons.....=)

{this is what happens when you give me internet time that I don't have to pay for and just let me sit and}


  1. Dang, waterfront hotel! It cannot be that bad...

  2. I loveeee you.....i def send those gummies i know that a pack of gummies can really make your day!!!!
    I'll talk to you soon....HERMANA VALERIA

  3. Sometimes I wonder myself, what's worse: Not knowing if " a crazy flash flood will wipe out my house tommorrow" or if I'll ever find the path I'm supposed to be on. A different sort of unknown and yet equally distressing. I guess what that confirms is that "the grass ain't greener on the other side." The human condition is the same no matter where you set up your tent.

    Jonathan Mederos

  4. Hola Val que bien que este alla aprendiendo algo distinto de la vida, despues de un año sin saber de ti tu hermana me dio esta pagina y te deso lo mejor aprovecha esto que te va a servir mucho en tu vida.

    saludos muro