Showing posts from August, 2014

A Third Year In Panama

I haven’t really talked about what my job as Sanitation Coordinator is. I coordinate sanitation, obviously. But what that means is that any Peace Corps Volunteer that wants to do a latrine project works with me to help make their project as sustainable, effective, and self-sufficient as possible. I share with them resources and best practices I have learned from my personal experience and the experiences of others, and together we try to make the process better in a multitude of different ways.
This job is personal to me, because it plays on what I learned in Playona. It also works to address a huge global development issue of sustainability and capacity-building. What does that mean?
“Handouts are bad.” Most people have heard that. They have heard that giving people free things is counterproductive and does not actually help them. Hand-washing is important, and most people have heard that too. But like hand-washing, just because they know something is bad doesn’t mean they actually…

A World Cup Experience

***Before I say anything, I would just like to state for the record that I am a publicly declared World Cup fan poser. I have never cared about futbol in any context before I came to Panama, and I can neither confirm nor deny that my fandom will continue after my PC Service.***
The World Cup is a big deal to everyone in the world who does not live in America. According to some of my social media updates, I guess maybe even America got somewhat into it this year. If you are a devoted US soccer fan, I don't want to offend you, but American fans are posers compared to Panamanian fans. Before you get all worked up about that statement, take a deep breath. It is maybe not a bad thing you don't take it quite this seriously, nor is it bad that you just don't have to make these kinds of sacrifices to be a fan. In America, it is just easier. For a couple of those true soccer fans out there, I am sure that if you were put in the middle of the jungle or on an island in the middle of t…

My Environmentalism Soapbox

Hey friends.

I try not to use my blog to soapbox, because having political agendas and liberal/conservative propaganda shoved down your throat is what your Facebook news feed is for. So I'm warning you, this post is about environmentalism, climate change, and proof that these threats are not abstract concepts you should be moderately concerned about in the way that you worry your diet coke's might give you cancer. It's real, I've seen it. I also don't have any solutions to the following problems, I just need to rant about them for a bit. Here goes...

Deforestation is big and scary.

The Azuero peninsula is a legit-for-reals victim of deforestation. A hundred years or so ago, it was as dense of a jungle as the Darien. Now, it reminds me of Nebraska, mid September. Brown, fields, and still ridiculously hot. It's too late for the Azuero, no really. It's all farmland. There's very little jungle left. But the Darien, now there is still a lot primary rainfores…

Healthy Women's Artisan Seminar

One of the first things I was able to participate in after moving to the west side of the country was the National Healthy Women's Artisan Seminar put on by the Gender and Development program within Peace Corps Panama. A little over a year ago I wrote a blog about the dramatic saga that took place in my community while trying to get 2 women from Playona to travel across the country to attend this seminar. Claudia made it, Eugenia did not. (Here's the link to the full story: )

This year, I did not have women to send to the seminar, but I was invited to be a facilitator for the week. No Embera ladies made it, but there were 25 rural latino and indigenous Ngabe-Bugle women. The Ngabe Bugle are a large indigenous group on the west side of Panama that culturally are the opposite of Embera. They are quiet, reserved, and shy. They are incredibly conservative and have strict gender roles. They are also ve…