Jeff's Mega Post

Sorry for the redundancy I have not read what Foy wrote.

I am out of time but happy birthday Steven.

14,15 May 07
Staging. PC put us up in a nice hotel and passed on a lot of information in long sessions. There are 34 of us 5 couples which is more than normal. I am surprised at how well our personalities mesh, but then it is a rather specific set of people who want to go on PC and also finish the exhaustive application process. The oldest are probably in their mid 30’s and the youngest is 21. We are all very excited but there is not much to do with the energy.

16-19 May 07
We flew to Panama City via Miami. Here’s a picture of our packs and US at Regan in DC.

We arrived at 8pm in Panama and climb on a PC bus to be wisked through the city. It looks like any big city at night with its share of skyscrapers big yellow Ms and other familiar restaurants. PST (Pre-Service Training) begins in La Ciuadad de Saber an old army base. I can’t help thinking PC is spoiling us. We get our own room with a bathroom hot shower and the kicker AC. I guess its more of an incremental thing. I would not just drop new fish in a tank I would let it acclimate first. While acclimating I broke out all my stuff and Foy typed out the list as I sorted.
For posterities sake this is a list of what I brought for two years in Panama. In total my packs weighed in at about 95 lbs. Many of these items were gifts from friends and family. Thank you all. I had a lot of extra space but once I shoved in the double mosquito net, both our med packs, all the books and binders PC hands out I am packed tight.

1. Large Frame Pack (5100 cubic inches of space)
2. Duffle Bag
3. Backback (book bag)
4. Laptop back pack
5. Mesh bag

1. 3 Contact cases
2. 3.5 bottle of contact solution
3. Centrum multivitamins 1 large and 1 small bottle
4. 28 condoms
5. Tweezers
6. 1.5 tubes of toothpaste
7. 1 toothbrush
8. 1 razor
9. 14 razor blades
10. 3 padlocks
11. 2 small luggage locks
12. Shampoo 1 big and 1 medium
13. Conditioner 1 big and 1 medium
14. 4 small bottle hand sanitizer
15. Sunscreen
16. Obs (Foy’s)
17. Deodorant (Foy’s)
18. 2 Chapstick
19. 4 rolls of tums
20. Assorted tubes of medicine
21. Floss
22. 2.5 deodorants
23. 2 pair of glasses
24. 10 pairs contact lenses
1. Orange long sleeve
2. Hoodie
3. Light blue long sleeve
4. 6 button ups short sleeve
5. 4 t-shirts
6. Blue Jeans longs
7. Jean shorts
8. Quick dry shorts
9. 5 pairs of khakis
10. Foy’s Strappy black sandals that she didn’t have room for
11. Chaco Sandals
12. Brown Dress Shoes
13. Flip Flop Sandals
14. Tennis Shoes
15. 6 pairs Socks
16. 10 Underwear
17. 0 Ties
18. 2 swim trunks
19. 3 Bandanas
20. Brown belt

Misc Items
15 wire hangers
Pith Helmet
Gilligan Cotton Hat
Towel Real
2 Sunglasses
Flat sheet
Leatherman multi tool
Fake leatherman multitool
Camping towel
6 bungees
15” x 15” ziplock bagsHead Lamp
Dummy Wallet
Small Spanish Dictionary

2 Ultimate Frisbee
Filets knife
Athletic Tape
Mint Toothpicks
Wine Bottle Opener
2 boxes of zip lock bags
Magic wooden box
2 decks of plastic cards
2 watercolor blocks
2 large sketchbooks
1 small sketch books
Gift Pictures
Shake powered flashlight
Watercolors set and brushes
Pens, pencils and erasers
6” ruler
Laptop (about 7 lbs)
Stuff for laptop (about 12lbs)
Solar Panel
Digital Camera

20-25 May 07
We were dropped off one by one in our host community where we will train for the next 10 weeks. We arrived at our site about 1:30. We have host parents 2 sisters the guy on the end is a boyfriend.

A third sister that is in the house next door with a precocious 6 year old who is the queen of her class. They all have nicknames and Kiki the 6 year old is unstoppably cute, also unstoppable.
Our house is a 4 room cinder block construction with a metal roof, the standard in our area. We have electricity and running water we can drink. The latrine is a latrine and our shower is an enclosed spigot with a barrel and pan to dip water. Sounds rustic, but really it is quite nice. Our house is clean and neat. Our host family is generous, to say the least, and helpful in whatever questions we ask. Our host mother la ama de casa (the spirit of house) makes us three large meals and cleans the entire house daily. I am fairly sure our room was the parents' and that makes me fell a little bad but that is the way of it. So far my days have been up at 7am for breakfast, go to language class at 8am, come home for lunch, walk to tech class, come home at 5pm, shower, eat, do homework, and gratefully sleep. I thought I was a weak gringo in the heavy tropical air, I was having trouble keeping up and felt miserable, but turns out I got a little yellow fever from the live vaccine. I got better in a few days. So far no one has had an adverse response to the water here likely because it is controlled but a government agency that adds Cl at the source tank.
One couple has started a yahoo group that will be friends and family of PCV group #59. If you want to join the address is
Yahoo groups are free and very easy to join if you already have a yahoo account. You can join without a yahoo mail account too. I recommend the compiled daily message option.


  1. santion5/26/2007

    That sucks about the yellow fever, but I'm really happy to hear that you brought sketch books and materials... maybe you can teach Kiki how to watercolor ;)

    Take care and happy Panama.

  2. Henceforth, I want to be know as la ama de casa (the spirit of house) at my house. Except I don't make three large meals a day nor clean the entire house daily so maybe that's a problem. Let's hope not.

    It's wonderful to hear what you are up to. If there's anything special you want me to send, other than a letter, send me an e-mail sometime to let me know.

    P.S. Your sister's birthday was Friday.
    P.P.S. I drove your Buick a couple times this weekend to keep it in the groove.
    P.P.P.S. Your brother got a speeding ticket coming home Friday, no comment needed on how dumb that was!

    Love, Mom

  3. Alma de la casa,

    I emailed Clarissa about her birthday. I think the day after or before. All the days are starting to run together. So no worries!

    I´ll keep you posted if I need anything.

    Su Hija,