Happy July 4th mi gente! The first time I wanted to celebrate this wonderful holiday in site, I invited my host family and some neighbors to my house for a good ol' American bbq. I bought hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and cola and thought I would share some of America's history over food.
As I served the first batch of hamburger I began to talk about the American colonies, taxation without representation, and our road to independence from the British. I shared that today, families spend the holiday together and prepare to watch the fireworks at night. I noticed that most people were listening but not eating their food and I (foolishly) attributed this to my amazing storytelling abilities.
Once I served everyone I finally took a seat and began to eat my own hamburger. It was then that I realized that instead of salt, I had seasoned the meat with sugar... que pena! I promised to to invite them for a re-do next year and I redeemed myself nicely as I included ribs in the menu.
How did you celebrate Independence Day in site? Did you share a typical American meal, played American music, shared traditions, etc? By what American tradition were your people surprised? Share your story with us on our Facebook post!
I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!
NYC RPCV Mini-Reunion
Thank you to the NYC RPCVs who connected in June over drinks and some free pizza! Our own PCPF Secretary, LaTaurus Whitley, showed up to support all the way from Atlanta :D
Washington D.C. RPCVs: Help us plan events you'd like to participate in!
Dear DMV Area RPCVs, please take a few moment to answer four questionsand help us plan events you would like to participate in. Our goal is to keep our community connected and your feedback is valuable. Mil gracias!
News From Panama
Panama celebrates Pride Last Saturday, June 29th, Panama celebrated the culmination of Pride Month with the Pride Parade in Casco Viejo, recognizing the presence of the LGBTIQ community in Panama, and bringing awareness to the continued effort for human rights and equality. Thousands participated, making it Panama's largest Pride Parade yet. You can read more about the events that occurred during Pride Month here: http://www.panamaworldpride.com/
Toma de Posesión
On July 1st, Panama celebrated its inauguration day, welcoming incoming president Laurentino 'Nito' Cortizo to be sworn into his role. Read more about this toma de posesión and watch video footage of Nito's speech here: https://www.prensa.com/videos/laurentino-cortizo-presidente-panama_2_5298240124.html
Panama in the Gold Cup
After a strong fight, Panama was unfortunately eliminated in the quarter finals in the Gold Cup, losing their final game 1-0 against Jamaica. Read more here: https://www.tvmax-9.com/somoslasele/seleccion-Panama-regresa-martes-vuelos_0_5340215993.html
Peace Corps Panama Updates
PST is underway!
Peace Corps Panama's newest trainees are several weeks into their Pre-service Training and are getting adapted to la vida Panameña. Group 85 is comprised of Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (WASH) and Susutainable Agriculture Systems (SAS) volunteers.
Check out updates from the office on social media through Facebook and Instagram:
Meet the Newest Bud Keith Scholars
Of our five Bud Keith scholars, two are new for 2019, replacing Estefania Cubillos and Geovanni Ibarra (Estafania and Geovanni both finished their university studies and are awaiting their graduation ceremonies). The new students are Eva Hernández and Luis Ortiz.
Eva is 28 years old from the Province of Colon. She lost her sight in 2015 as the result of hydroencephalia. Nonetheless, she continues work as an HIV/AIDS outreach worker while earning her bachelor´s degree in social work. In addition, she does the cooking and housework for herself and her blind husband. The photo shows Eva, second from left, receiving a certificate for a training course she took at the Patronato Luz del Ciego, which will administer her stipend and report her progress.
Luis Ortiz, also from Colon Province, is 45. He did electrical construction until retinitis pigmentosa took his sight. In order to switch to another line of work, he´s got to repeat his final year of high school, just as Geovanni did before he entered the university. He is also working while he studies, hawking merchandise on the street.
Luis and Eva join our 9th grader, Marissa Vega, and our two university students, John Cedeño and Erika Pimentel, as our 2019 Bud Keith scholars.
To learn more about the work of the Bud Keith Fund, or to donate, click here.
RPCV Spotlight: The Spirit of Service
by Samuel Boehms
I first arrived to Panama with SAS Group 75 in 2014 where I worked in Darien Province in the Comarca Embera-Wounaan in the community of Bayamon. After extending in-site for a third year, I continued working in the Darien as a response Peace Corps Response volunteer with the UNDP’s Small Grants Program. In this position I was able to continue serving the province I had grown to love during my regular Peace Corps service. Our goal was to support community-based organizations to develop and manage their own projects in the areas of conservation, economic development and watershed management.
After I left PC Response I joined the Panamanian NGO ANCON (Asociación Nacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza). I worked with this organization as the director of the Punta Patiño Private Nature Reserve, it's a 30,000 hectare nature reserve in the Darien that helps create a natural bridge between the Darien National Park, the Cerro Bagre Biological Corridor and Embera and Wounaan communities. While working in the nature reserve I continued supporting the Embera youth groups Dgi Ta Wagadi (Guardians of the Seed) and Ējũã Wãndra (Guardians of Mother Earth), which are dedicated to the recovery and preservation of the Embera culture and environmental conservation, respectively.
I am currently living in Da Nang, Vietnam where I am teaching English and supporting an animal rehabilitation shelter called Paws for Compassion. In August I will leave to attend graduate school at Sciences Po in Paris, France where I will be pursuing a degree in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action. My hope is to continue working in Latin America where I will help incorporate the human rights framework in areas of environmental conservation and social justice.
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 Formand 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.