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.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ups and Downs of PC service

I just got back into town because Princesa is in the Hospital...She has ParvoVirus that affects her intestines and her heart. She has been vomiting since Sunday and yesterday starting with bloody diarrhea. She is really weak but I hope that she makes it through the next couple days. I have gotten really attached to her.

From Santana: Month 1

Yesterday I was really sad when I had to leave her. There is one transport that goes in and out of my town so I had to go. I cried a lot of the afternoon but the kids in the community wanted their first english class so I had to wipe my tears and compose myself. The first class was okay. There were about 6 or 7 kids from ages 5-15. To my dismay, they had trouble writing the alphabet in spanish. Though almost all of them have english class in school, I started with the basics, the alphabet. Then we got into presentations, like Hello, my name is...I am from....I know these kids have different study habits and work ethic but I know they will learn fast.

This past weekend, we built a clay oven at Benigno's house. We worked on it all day. It was difficult because there were times when there were up to 10 people working and then there were times when there were 3...(2 kids and myself). Most of the men that were there were helpful. I did bump heads with my host's husband because he seems like the type that likes doing things at his pace. No one in the community thought the oven was going to be completed that day. They all thought we would start...but finish it later. I am not sure exactly how the oven will turn out since I have never made one before, but I hope that it works! I was happy to surprise the community and show them that things can be FINISHED. They are used to doing things slower, i understand, but when you want something finished, you need to focus on it and stay on it until the end. I think working with my host's husband will be most difficult since he is so hard headed.

Part of this experience i guess is doing things, even when you don't want to or are discouraged. On Sunday there were times where I just wanted to give up on the oven. It was hard work, mostly physical (collecting the fresh cow menuer from the fields around and walking it over to the place where the oven was going to be made, using a pick ax to get the clay and using a broken wheel barrel to bring it over to the area, clearing the area where the oven was going to be made, building the roof over the oven to protect it from the rain); not to mention the emotional struggle of conflicting personalities... and yet i had to suck up whatever emotions were errupting in me and finish the oven. Yesterday when all i wanted to do was be with my princess, I had to gather myself and teach these kids, reminding myself to have patience with them for not knowing the alphabet in spanish let alone english.
The Oven:

I bought a horse on Saturday afternoon! He arrives at my site tomorrow afternoon. For those of you who know me, YOU UNDERSTAND HOW BIG A DEAL THIS IS!! I can' believe i'm finally going to have MY OWN horse!
Gracias Luz Mila!!

From Santana: Month 1

From Santana: Month 1

Funny Image: the house cat brought in her dinner sunday night...I caught her trying to run out of the house when she realized that bringing in dinner was a bad idea... RIP little Birdy


  1. Val, how the hell did you buy a horse? That's crazy!!! If that's the horse in the picture, then it's beautiful!! I'm sooooo happy for you. Dreams are coming true. love you.

  2. How long was the medical/dental clearance process for you? I am currently going through it and I am getting quite impatient.

  3. Hi --the horse story brought back some good memories...My name is Barbara Jo White (Dominican Republic'87'89) and I purchased a horse too. After it was stolen, I went to the police station and they asked me if I had found it yet? I know you will have better luck with your horse!!
    Way back, I started the World Map Project. Are there any maps in Panema? If so, I sure would love to have pics to put up on the World Map Project website ( The free map making manual is there and lots of pics from maps around the world.I'm getting ready to update the gridded world map pages and publish the instructions (and map pages) in spanish.
    Please email me or send pics to or you can follow me and the project on Twitter @WorldMapProject
    Que le vaya bien!