Queridos PCPF Members,
Where did the year go?! It feels like just yesterday that I was promising myself to eat healthier, spend more time outside, and volunteer more. I've done pretty well with 2 out of those 3 goals (I'll let you guess which one didn't go so well...). How about you? Did you have the year you wanted to have?
December will forever be sueter month for me. I remember my first year in Panama I would spend a lot of time getting thoughtful and personalized Christmas gifts for my family. And yet, I would never get the same reaction as the people who gifted un sueter (T-Shirt). I mean... how many shirts can one need? Bueno, one Christmas the Gonzales family did a Secret Santa gift exchange and guess what every..single..person got? (Queue the suspenseful music) UN SUETER! Mine was extra special as it had the words "baby girl" written in rhinestones across the chest ;)
This month I would like to take a moment and thank all of you who donated during Giving Tuesday. We raised over $500 for volunteer projects which could be doubled by Facebook! From the bottom of our hearts, GRACIAS.
I would also like to thank Joe Hindman for traveling to Madagascar to celebrate the life of fellow RPCV Kevin Webb (read more below). This act of kindness reminds me just how special our RPCV family is. Thank you Joe for making the trip, sharing the story with us, and wishing Kevin paz from all his Peace Corps Panama family.
Last but not least, don't forget to call, text, email or send a smoke signal to your Panamanian mom to wish her a happy Mothers Day and let her know just how special she is.
Get Your 2019 Calendar Now
Thank you so much to everyone who has already purchased a calendar! We have sold over 75% of them already. Calendars are created by VAC and feature pictures taken from current PCVs. These pictures give you a glimpse of life in Panama and those special moments, places, and people that were our home away from home.
Calendars are one of the main ways we raise funds to support volunteer projects so please consider purchasing one (or more) today. You can pay by using PayPal, credit/debit card, or check and we can ship to more than one address.
Money Back Guaranteed! PCPF has worked closely with VAC to ensure that the calendar is free of errors. We will refund your purchase if the calendar has mistakes.
Washington D.C. RPCV Event: Wreath Across America
Join PCPF to remember the fallen and honor those who served by laying wreaths at Arlington Cemetery on December 15. We will be meeting in front of the main entrance at 7:45 am.
This event is open to the public and there is no need to register. Learn more about the event.
When: December 15, 2018 @ 7:45 am
Where: Arlington Cemetery
Mes de Patria Celebrations Across the Country
A big THANK YOU to everyone who organized and participated in Mes de Patria celebrations. We loved seeing your pictures and hearing your stories and hope to see even more reunions in the future. OJUE!
You can now support PCPF by shopping through our link on Amazon. This does not cost anything extra to you nor does it impact the items that you can buy. Amazon will donate 0.5% of your total purchase to PCPF. Please consider using the link, especially this holiday season as you purchase gifts for your loved ones.
Peace Corps Panama Friends is looking for enthusiastic, creative, and passionate candidates to help us take our organization to the next level. Whether you have years of experience or are looking to gain experience, you can be an asset to our organization.
All Executive Board positions are open starting February 2019. Learn more about what being a Board member entails and please submit your application using the Election Form.
News From Panama
Ricardo Martinelli's Sons Arrested in Miami!
Former president Ricardo Martinelli's sons, Ricardo and Luis Martinelli Linares, have been arrested in Miami, with pending extradition to Panama to appear before the anti-corruption authority. Find out more here
Pope Francis's Panama Schedule Released
Pope Francis's Panama schedule has been released to the press for the World Youth Conference starting on January 23rd, 2019. Read all the details here.
Barrios Unidos está de Fiesta!
The corregimiento of Barrios Unidos in the Aguadulce district celebrates Panama's independence from Spain. Read more on the festivities here.
Peace Corps Panama Updates
Mä blite Ngäbere?
Peace Corps Language and Culture Facilitator Rolando Rodriguez visited the Embassy this week to help the US Chargé d'affaires Roxanne Cabral brush up on her Ngäbere before she visits the Comarca for World AIDS Day. Watch the video on the Embassy Facebook page.
Congratulations Group 80!
On December 3rd, Peace Corps Panama Volunteers from Group 80 prepare for their last few months in country at their close of service conference. Congratulations G80 and thank you for your service!
Feliz Dia de la Madre!
Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful Panamanian women, especially those that opened their homes and their hearts to us. We asked you to share why your mom is special and below are some of our favorite answers:
Isabel was the oldest woman in my community & always greeted me with a big hug when I visited her. She is full of knowledge & loves to tell funny stories about times in the past. ❤
Chola was tough, but kind and was always there for me. She helped me understand Kusapin and the true meaning of being a part of that community. I will always be grateful to her and her family.
-- Joanna Whitake
Clementina was a hardworking women who made the best fluffy hot johnny cakes, the sweetest smelling coconut oil and a really good bon. She welcomed me into her home and taught me so much. She would not be too thrilled that the best picture of her includes her son being goofy but it was a sweet moment rarely caught on camera😊.
-- Holly Hummel
Argelis is one of the kindest and strongest women I know. Living in el monte with no water and electricity did not stop her from dreaming big and keeping up with the latest fashion ;) Did I mention that she taught herself how to drive stick shift because the men on the farm would not do it? La mejor mama del mundo!
-- Ina Hysi
Carmen always had a plate (or 3) of food and a big hug waiting for me. To this day (almost 10 years later) she still keeps in touch. Feliz dia meye tigwe!
RPCV Spotlight: In the Spirit of Service
by Carolyn Gray
I served as a Community Development in the Azuero Peninsula with Group 9. During my service I assisted a group of Panamanian doctors doing research on goiter in my village and was involved in a USAID project that built a self help school in Peña Blanca de Las Tablas, Los Santos Province. The University of Panama also contributed to the project as the Director was involved in nuclear medicine which was part of the detection of the source of goiter which all in the village had. It was an elementary school which led to more students being able to attend high school. When I visited in 2008 the school was still there and the residents added electricity and computers in one of the classroom..
After my service I got an MA in Education at Stanford and taught Spanish and World History in the Fairbanks where I have been involved in organizing the International Friendship Day in Fairbanks for over 30 years. Learning about the importance of junta in Panama has helped me play this important role. The International Friendship Day is a multi-cultural celebration that aims to promote cultural awareness, appreciation, respect and unity in our culturally diverse community. It is usually the third Saturday of October around the time of UN Day.
I currently serve as Secretary and Historian for the Northern Alaska Peace Corps Friends. NAPCF helps locate different ethnic groups which would fit into the theme of Fairbanks International Friendship Day. We invite participants to display cultural items, perform dances, songs and other arts. There is a fashion pageant with representatives of most of the groups. Food is sold by representatives of a few of the groups.
The Peace Corps always has a table for Peace Corps country items, recruiting items, and providing current information about Peace Corps in general. Graduate students as well as undergraduates who are going to serve or who have served have assisted. We have recently had some Peace Corps Response participants assisting.
We usually follow up by taking pledges for Public Broadcasting Station KUAC in that same week around the time of PRI’ radio”s “The World” which is hosted by RPCV Marco Werman Togo. The motto of KUAC is “Connecting the World to Alaska and Alaska to the World”. We also help in April too and the staff mention the specific countries in which we served as well as the name of our group.
Celebrating the Life of Kevin Webb
by Joe Hindman
On November 13 at the US Embassy in Antananarivo (Madagascar) a memorial was held to honor Kevin Webb (red shirt in the photo above), a former PC Panama Volunteer and US diplomat who died in late September. Kevin was an agroforestry Volunteer in Chiquiri Arriba, Cocle from 1993-1995, shortly after Peace Corps returned to Panama after a 20 year hiatus. He worked developing pine tree nurseries and helping hillside farmers with soil conservation and fertility.
After Peace Corps, Kevin served in the Foreign Service for nearly 20 years, most recently as a Human Resources specialist in Madagascar. The emotional ceremony was attended by a standing room only crowd of over 200 Embassy staff, the majority of whom were Malagasy nationals. Kevin was well liked by all the staff, but most affectionately by the local staff, to whom he always greeted and took the time to get to know (a trait that seems common among former PCVs).
Kevin was the victim of a homicide. The suspected perpetrator is in custody and awaiting trial. Details of Kevin’s death remain unclear, most likely at the request of his family. Several people who knew Kevin, including myself, spoke of our memories of Kevin. One Embassy official told how Kevin’s casket was wrapped in a US flag that flew over the Embassy the day he died, and how he was flown to Dover Air Force Base where he was received in the dignified transfer status of a fallen soldier. Another remembered his sense of humor and how he was able to transform a dull Embassy event into a fun filled happening. But all the speakers remarked on his honesty, sincerity and kindness. Kevin was a person who made an impression on all of us, and he will be remembered as a kind spirit who dedicated his life to serving his country. In my final remark, I declared on behalf of all Kevin’s Peace Corps and Panamanian friends, “Que Descanses en Paz, Kevin.”
Third Goal Activities
Do you continue to be involved in projects in Panama? Are you sharing your Peace Corps experience with other? We would love to feature you in the RPCV spotlight! Please fill out this this Google Form and let us know about the wonderful work you are doing.
Looking for RPCV Career Support?
Check out the PC Headquarters Career Center online or in person to help support you in finding your perfect career path post-service. Check out their web resources here .
Considering Grad School?
As RPCVs we are eligible for life to apply for grad school financial support through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship. Find out more about participating universities and their respective programs here .