2020 Panama Calendars
Siesta during the dry season/ Will Char/ G83 WASH/ Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé
Thank you to everyone who has already purchased a Panama calendar! We sold over half of them in just one week (wow!!). Calendars will begin to ship the first week of December.
If you haven't purchased a calendar yet, please consider doing so to support the amazing work Peace Corps Panama volunteers do in the field. Calendars make a wonderful holiday gift for family and loved ones. Share with them a peek into the county we called home and the people who became familia.
Bud Keith Fund: Nighttime Mobility Classes
PCPF’s Bud Keith Scholarship Fund for the Blind continues to support classes that teach blind people how to travel independently using a cane. The ability to travel safely to and from work is essential for holding a job. Our partner in Panama, the Patronato Luz del Ciego, provides such classes during the day. Ours are at night. Originally, the nighttime classes were aimed at the “night blind”, people whose vision is functional in daylight but who can’t see at night.
This year, in addition to night blind people, the class of six includes some totally blind people whose work schedules preclude them from attending the Patronato’s daytime classes. Three out of the six recently received on-the-job computer training paid for by the Bud Keith Fund.
"The classes for nighttime mobility have given my daily life a 360-degree turn. I have lost that fear of leaving home. I am much more confident when going to unfamiliar places. In short, I’ve stopped worrying about the little impediments that make you reluctant to do the things you’ve always wanted to do"
-- Julyannette Haughton
Bud Keith Fund Scholarship Recipient
To learn more about the work of the Bud Keith Fund, or to donate, click here.
Amazon Smile During the Holidays
We are the first ones to admit that Amazon has saved my life a few times as I waited for the last minute to find a birthday or holiday gift for a loved one. If you shop online this holiday season, please consider using the PCPF Amazon Smile link. A percentage of your total is donated to PCPF at no additional cost to you.
News From Panama
Tree-lighting on the Cinta Costera
December 1st marks the end of Mes de la Patria and the start of the Christmas Season. As is tradition, tonight the Cinta Costera will be decked with Christmas lights and figures (along with an ice-skating area, we've heard!) to delight city-goers. Stay tuned on December 2nd to La Prensa for photos soon to come!
University forum to discuss changes to constitution takes place in Colón
Faculty and students from the Centro Regional Universitario de Colón gathered on November 30th to discuss the controversial changes made to the Panamanian constitution in an open forum. Read more here.
International Activists Against Nuclear Weapons arrive to Panama
Activists from the organization Mundo Sin Guerras y Sin Violencia (MSGSV) arrived to Panama on their international tour showing the documentary El principio del fin de las armas nucleares. Read more about it here.
Peace Corps Panama Updates
Viene pronto G86!
The Peace Corps Panama office staff and volunteer leaders are eagerly preparing for February's arrival of G86's CEC and TELLS volunteers.
Closing out the Year at the PC Office
This year, PC staff is proud to reflect on all of the successes achieved this year. From updates to training continuum, to side identification, preparing for a strategic partners meeting with counterparts from the Ministries, and daily support to PCVs, the team has worked hard this year, and is eager to welcome 2020 and all that it has in store.
Share Your Memories
Have photos from your own Peace Corps Panama service that you'd like to share? Share them with DDPT Daniel: firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured on the PC Panama Facebook and Instagram pages.
Want to stay connected with the day to day updates from PCVs in the field? Follow Peace Corps Panama on social media:
RPCV Spotlight: Not Your Usual Office
Buena Frens! My name is Jacob Trusty, and I was in Group 73 during my days in Panama serving as one of the few Colonenese volunteers in Peace Corps at the time. From 2013-2015 I was in the Sustainable Agriculture program, then after my 27 months were over I extended for a third year in 2016 as one of the coordinators of the Coffee sector of the SAS program.
I came to Panama as a fluffy, wide-eyed business major hoping to change the world. I became tanned and strong, I lost 40 pounds, and started to think not about what I was qualified to do but instead started to aim for dreams with no roads leading to them. During all the day to day, when I was hiking to my site, working in the coffee farms, or waiting for the rain to stop pouring, I was falling in love with being outside. When the three years were coming to an end, I wasn’t done seeing the world and connecting with people, and I sure as heck wasn’t ready to go back to working a 9 to 5.
So when I left Panama the goal was to be outside as much as possible working for something I believed in, where I could get my hands dirty and educate people. I found a job as a kayak Ranger working in southern Florida for Everglades National Park. I used the non-competitive hiring authority and a lot of advice from other RPCVs currently in the Park Service to get a job within 2 months of returning home. It has been amazing!
Within the three years I’ve been back in the U.S. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot, from Florida to Alaska and Oregon to New York multiple times, in my tiny little car going from park to park seeing what I missed out all those years I spent waiting to travel abroad. I had the opportunity to work in Alaska and Oregon while still spending a month or two every year at home in Indiana with my family. I’m outside most days looking for wildlife and making sure people are safe in the wilderness. When I’m working inside the visitor center I teach people from all over the world about the place they are visiting.
I met another PCV in Colon, Brittany, who would eventually agree to be my wife. Our friend, Collin, who was in G73 with me officiated our wedding. We’ve had our family from Panama visit us in the U.S. but we haven’t been back yet. Peace Corps was the only dream I had for a long time and when it was time to go home it was scary finding a new goal for myself. If you had asked me when I was in my community what I was going to do after Panama I would’ve told you that I was going to do Peace Corps for the rest of my life. But life happens. You fall in love, meet friends you never want to leave, find a community that you have a part in, see wondrous things and experience moments of such joy and peace.
The Peace Corps, for me, was everything I hoped it would be. Three years go by so quickly. I was in Panama for three years and now I’ve been back to the U.S. for three years. The plan for the future is to work towards going back to the Peace Corps again, probably in three years.
I tell other PCVs that if you you’re looking for life similar to what it was like in Peace Corps, no phone signal, hikes in remote beautiful places, people with similar passions, then the National Park Service might be right for you. Peace Corps gave me so many skills that I use every day on the job. I get to speak Spanish, and when someone speaks another language I know how to have basic conversations using easy words and hand signals like I used to do when I was in country and my language level was so low. I’ve used my machete to clear trails. I teach scientific concepts to both children and adults; often ideas and theories that are foreign to them. I’m flexible when schedules go awry or something unexpected makes us wait for hours on end (instead of waiting for the chiva to arrive, I found myself waiting for the moose to leave my front door). But most importantly I get to work with people from all different backgrounds and the visitors in the park come from all over the world. I feel like the greatest skill I learned in Peace Corps, the ability to work with people very different from myself, is practiced every day in the Park Service.
I’m only here because other RPCVs helped me figure out the hiring process for the National Park Service. So feel free to reach out, not just to me but your local RPCV groups. We all went through similar struggles throughout our service, albeit at different times, but we’re still a community even after we leave the monte.
Boca Chica, Colon, Panama
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 .