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October 2018 El Bochinche

Updated: Nov 1, 2018

Queridos PCPF Members, It's my favorite time of year.. fall! The air is crisp, the leaves are turning stunning shades of reds and yellows, and the holidays are around the corner. What more can one ask for?! The Floridian in me still asks every year "Is this a cold front?" because I can not believe that summer is only 3 months. Oh how I love living up north(ish)! The fall season is a busy one for PCPF as we work to:

  • Organize Mes de Patria celebrations around the country (read more below on how you can be a part of this)

  • Prepare for calendar sales (how exciting!)

  • Close out another round of grants and

  • Finalize a little surprise that we have been working on for the past year (no hints)

But I don't want to give too much away. So for now, sit back and enjoy your pumpkin spice latte (or if you are like me, chai tea) as you read the latest edition of El Bo. We have disgraced politicians making a comeback, Rocky Horror Picture Show themed Halloween celebrations, and an incredible and inspiring RPCV spotlight. Saludos, Ina

PCPF Updates

Washington D.C. RPCV Hike - C&O Canal: Billy Goat Trail Section A

Let's leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a morning in nature! Family, friends, and loved ones are welcome! 

When: Saturday, October 6, 2018

Where: C&O Canal: Billy Goat Trail Section A

11710 MacArthur Blvd, Potomac,MD 20854-1659

We will be hiking Section A of the Billy Goat Trail. It is a 3 mile strenuous hike that includes rock hopping and scrambling. It is important that you wear sneaker/hiking boots and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. Learn more about the event and RSPV in the Facebook event or Google Form .

Please make sure that you are physically fit to complete this hike! Check out the link below to prepare for this trip:

Mes de Patria Celebrations - Mark Your Calendars!


Are you a Panama RPCV in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area? Or maybe you are traveling in the area the weekend of November 3rd? Let's celebrate el Mes de Patria together!

Where: Calle Latina 406 Church Street Decatur, Georgia 30030

When: Friday, November 2 at 6 pm

Please let PCPF know if you can join us by filling out this Google Form by October 15 so we can proceed with making a reservation. This will be a great time to get together with other returned volunteers in the Atlanta area.

Washington D.C.

Let's celebrate Independence Day like we were in Panama! Sure, we can't have a parade but we can eat listen to some sweet tipico and eat arroz con pollo, tamales, and sancocho while we reminisce about our time in Panama. Family, frineds, and loved ones are welcome!

Where: TBD

When: Saturday, November 3 from 11 am - 3pm

Let us know if you are interested by filling out this poll by October 15.

Celebrations around the country

Would you like to organize a celebration of Mes de Patria in your area? We would love to help you plan and advertise! Please reach out to Ina Hysi at for more information.

Peace Corps Panama Updates

Celebrating Volunteer Stories

Peace Corps Panama is proud to have one of its own featured on the Peace Corps website for their Photo Story on Coffee production in rural Panama. Read the whole story here.

Another Fiscal Year Comes to an End

As October begins, Peace Corps wraps up the end of the fiscal year. At the Peace Corps Panama office, this means celebrating the achievements of the previous fiscal year, such as implementing the new training Leadership in Action, updating housing policies, and managing budget challenges. A big congratulations to the Peace Corps Panama office family and all of their achievements this fiscal year!

Continue to follow the Peace Corps Panama events and activities through their social media accounts (including live streaming of special events!) at:

News from Panama

Martinelli for Diputado?

You read it correctly! In spite of his current incarceration, former president Ricardo Martinelli was elected in the primary elections as a candidate for Diputado for the Cambio Democratico political party. Follow more on this story at La Prensa .

News from the Interior

Heavy rains in the Tonosí district of Los Santos have resulted in damage to dwellings, requiring the support of Protección Civil (SINAPROC) to assist residents. View photos and read more here .

Halloween Bash in Miranda's "Miami Condo"

by: Miranda Fay

Being far away from home can be a bit scary - away from friends, family and those fun traditions that you miss. For me those fun traditions are the fall holidays - Halloween and Thanksgiving, which Panamanians usually don't celebrate. So my first year in service (2012), when Halloween was quickly approaching, I decided to host a Halloween Bash for those volunteers in the nearby provinces of Veraguas and Chiriqui who wanted to make the trek and stay the night. I knew I had to make it a special night for everyone to come all the way out and stay over, so I decided to do a Rocky Horror Picture Show theme and of course, we watched the movie too. 

At that time, Jiniva, a Panamanian teacher who moved into my spare room and ended up being my best roommate ever because she decided she would help make decorations for the party. We decorated with our best paper cutouts of bats, skulls, and ghosts, which took a few weeks to prepare after school every day. Since we had a theme, I decorated a wall with the Rocky Horror Picture Show RKO signal tower and stage curtains for photo ops and a paper cutout of one of the movie scenes. We even printed out some poster sized images of the movie to complete the look! OH and we also had this amazing bat cave out of brown paper cut out bats and spiders and cobwebs.

Panama does have a few Halloween decorations available if you know where to shop!

I asked all my guests to come in themed costume, such as Janet and Magenta from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. For those who couldn't piece together a themed costume, we turned them into zombies with Stephanie Rivera and Katie Walker as our make up artists. For food, I made graveyard cake, a tray of bones (or Marsh-mellows and Pretzel sticks covered in white chocolate) and for drink, I provided the "Poison Apple" Punch. We had a spooky-fied play list of songs like "The Monster Mash" and "One-eyed, One-Horn, Flying Purple People Eater" - I wish I had a video when everyone jumped up to dance to Thriller....good thing a few zombies decided to come to the party!

One of the best parts of throwing these parties is getting to make it a real experience for everyone by having themed food, drinks, decorations, music, movies, and costumes.

Miranda Fay, Hostess with the most-est

RPVC Spotlight:

by: Robert "Bob" Barker

Bob (center) with Oscar Ceville (left) and Raúl López (right), two Panamanian lawyers with whom he worked very closely during his service

As a Peace Corps Volunteer I worked for two years (1967-1969) in Panama’s Programa de Desarrollo Comunal Urbano (CED) in Panama City. As the agency’s mandate was a broad one, I did a variety of things during those two years; however, most of my time and effort were spent helping to build a coalition of governmental and private entities that resulted in the establishment of Panama’s first program of free legal services to the residents of the barriadas de emergencia of Panama City.

That experience has led to decades of involvement in Latin America that, gracias a Dios, continues to this day. As a lawyer and law professor I became active in the Inter-American Bar Association, which brings together lawyers and bar associations from throughout the Western Hemisphere. Also, over the years, I have received more than twenty speaker’s grants to discuss Constitutional Law topics in most of the countries of Latin America, including several visits to Panama.

Bob (second from the left) presenting at the XXIX Conference of the Inter-American Bar Association (1993) in San José, Costa Rica

My Peace Corps service also helped me to win a Fulbright Fellowship to teach for a semester at the University of Buenos Aires (in 1995), and to help to establish an ongoing program of academic cooperation between my school ( Duquesne University) and the Supreme Court of Justice of Costa Rica.

In the 1980’s, I became president of the Western Pennsylvania-Maranhao (Brazil)partnership within the Partners of the Americas program (a privatized offshoot of the Alliance for Progress) which brings together volunteers from the U.S. and volunteers in partner states and countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to promote economic and cultural development. For nine years I was a member of the organization’s inter-American Board of Directors.

Bob departing from Panama in February, 1969. Tocumen Airport.

It all began with my years as a PCV in Panama, and would not have been possible without that experience.

Con saludos cordiales,

Bob Barker

RPCV Panamá XIII (1967-1969)

Professor of Law Emeritus

Duquesne University School of Law

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Celebrating Mes de Patria

Do you have a story and/or picture(s) from your Mes de Patria celebration in site? How many gritos did you celebrate? Did you don a pollera and other vestidos tipicos? Did you take part of a parade with your school or community? Share your story with us for a special feature in the November issue of El Bo! Send you story and pictures to Ina Hysi at

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 .



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