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Showing posts from April, 2014

A New Adventure

This morning, I officially accepted the position as National Sanitation Coordinator for Peace Corps Panama! I will be living on the western side of the country, supporting current latrine projects and assisting current PCVs to prepare, manage, and sustain sanitation projects. It is a unique opportunity because it is a job that the Panama has not had for quite some time, and they are hoping to make it a permanent position.

The bottom line? I will be here in Panama until October 11, 2014.

I am still sad about the evacuation from my old site and can't wait to see my community again for my goodbye party in May, but I am also very excited about this opportunity. It is a way to continue the work I have been doing in a more stable region, and to further develop the Environmental Health program, so that one day in the future when Peace Corps is allowed to return to my region, they will be trained and ready to pick up where all of us have left off.

On a personal note, it will also give me …

Becoming Homeless

On Tuesday, March 18th there was a security incident related to drug trafficking in the Comarca. On Thursday, March 20th I left Playona. On Monday, March 24th, the 6 of us PCVs in the area requested a meeting with the PC office to talk about it. They assured us that it was an isolated incident, that our security was their top priority, and that they would look into the situation further. In a follow up meeting on Wednesday, March 26th, they said the the border police, US embassy, and the PC office would be doing 3 separate investigations and evaluations of the area and that we all needed to be out of site until April 7th in order to give them time to assess the area. Our impression as Volunteers was still that we would be cleared to go home on the 7th.

In the meantime, we finished our Close of Service conference, enjoyed a long weekend in paradise in San Blas, returned to the city long enough to do laundry, and then traveled down to the Azuero Peninsula to distract ourselves on the Pa…

An Unexpected Ending

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert

On March 19, 2014, my friend Ken, a fellow PCV visiting my site to help me form an Ultimate Frisbee team, woke up at 6AM and went out to my porch hammock to read. I laid in bed half sleeping, half listening to the morning noise of my community- people walking to the river for their morning bathe, kids chasing each other with buckets sent to haul water for the house, the sounds and smells of my neighbors cooking. It was a cold morning, I was curled up in my fleece sleeping bag. It was probably 78 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the dry season's lack of humidity, that was pretty cold! I finally got myself out of my warm blanket and mosquito net, stumbled out to my porch, tr…

Kechu'

(That's Panamanian for ketchup.)

So let's catch you up on life. Like I said, I wrote a bunch of stories out that are now locked in my tablet until I return to the US in a few months and get the charging port on it fixed. In the mean time, life goes on.

I spent nearly the entire month of January in the city with a skin infection on my leg and figuring out the legal stuff with the lost check. On the 22nd we had a regional meeting and then after that we went on a couple day hike up to a peak in the Darien. I spent 2 nights in the Darien wearing a hoodie, being chilly. CHILLY. I never imagined it was possible. It was beautiful up there! I went immediately from there to PCV Ben's site to help him and his community build their very first composting latrine! Seeing the idea planted into a new community's brain and hearing that rumors about my project had reached them was definitely a major highlight of my service.

February came and went before I had a chance to even flip the …