Day 1 - Pre Staging - Leaving Iowa

We left Iowa behind this morning, really early this morning. We had to leave Jeff’s Mom’s house by 4:50 this morning so we would have enough time to drive to the airport and catch our 6:50 Am flight to Washington DC. We both forgot about the no liquids more than 6 ounces in your carry on rule. I lost a bottle of lotion and Jeff lost some toothpaste. Luckily it is nothing critical and we’re in no hurry to refresh our supplies. However, when we fly from DC to Miami to Panama I’ll be sure to have my liquids in a little zip lock bag.

We arrived in DC around 10:30 AM and were at our hotel by 11:00. Then we had some lunch and took a nap until check in time at 2:00pm. Check in was fine. We need to mail our student loan deferment papers. I need to get a notary to officially document my Power of Attorney form. Also, there are a couple issues with how we set up some Certificates of Deposit at the bank, but other than that, we are looking good.

After check in, we did a little icebreaker with the people from our group. There are 34 of us going to Panama. We are all either Sustainable Agriculture Services (SAS) or Community Ecology Conservation (CEC). Of our group there are five married couples, roughly one third of the group. Only 5% of the currently serving Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) are married to an other volunteer. It will be interesting to see how our experiences compare.
We did a little group activity where we wrote out what we were nervous about and what we were excited about. Here’s the list we came up with:

Not knowing what we’re going to do
Learning a foreign language
Missing family and friends
Learning new gender rolls
Trying to help people who don’t want to help themselves
Getting a disease that would cause permanent damage
Not having privacy
Bugs and animals

Helping people who need help
Keeping a garden
Keeping chickens
The possibility of canoeing to work
Living in a tropical location
Meeting new people
Becoming fluent in Spanish

It will be interesting to come back to this after we’ve been in country a while and see how things are going.


  1. Glad you made it to DC safe! We love you guys!

  2. santion5/14/2007

    HOORAY! It has begun... :)

  3. Good luck!

    I was talking to my dad about his Peace Corp experience, and he was saying that when he was in, the most important job of the volunteers was to be good US Ambassadors. That they didn't really care if you screwed up your job, as long as you behaved and made a good impression of the US. Of course, that was the 70's, and he was a long-haired, pot-smoking hippie, so what does he know?

  4. That's true Marigold! Right now that's a lot of the training, don't associate with drug dealers, don't blog negetive things, make friends, behave respectively. They are really conserned that we are good ambassadors. Apparently it has happened in the past that one bad PCV has gotten all the other PCV in their country kicked out and their program ended. Like, no more PC in that country.

    Anyways, I have to go back and learn more about having a safe, healthy and productive experience.

  5. Anonymous5/15/2007

    To see the world as most do.
    (You should add this one)

  6. I cant wait to go back in time and revisit your 2 years!