Day 28 - Service Training - Site Announcement

On Wednesday we officially found out our site location. We are going to be North in the province Panama Este (Panama East), in a little town. Here´s the only decent map I could find. Ignore the solar eclipse stuff. We will be North of Chepo (almost in the middle top of the map). That is kind of near where we´ll be. You´ll have to click to enlage the image.

Here’s the site description straight our of my book:

Located in a beautiful valley, one will find your town along with three other
communities. The valley is unique in that it has a microclimate due to an
opening to the Caribbean which allows cooler, moister air to ender the valley,
keeping it generally greener and cooler year round. An added benefit of this
microclimate, apart from cooler, more enjoyable temperatures is a very rich and
diverse flora, making it a great place to enjoy Mother Nature. At the west end
of the valley, are the headwaters of the beautiful river, which make for a great
adventure for anyone who loves hiking or horseback riding followed by a
refreshing swim in the pristine waters. The whole valley is accessible by foot,
but if you enjoy horseback riding, this might be your preferred method of

So I guess we could own horses if we wanted. They are only about $100, or so I‘ve heard.

We will be about a three hour trip out side of Panama City. There is a 1 hour trip from Panama City to a neighboring large city by bus. Then a one and a half hour trip in a Chiva (a 4 wheeling truck with the bed set up for passengers, very uncomfortable and very crowded). That’s the least exciting part of our trip and the last leg that should take us into our town.

We get a cooler climate, which I am thankful for because sometimes it’s too hot and humid in our host community to sleep. There are also two Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in our site. At the top of the valley (about an hour’s walk from our village) Earth Train has set up camp. They are working to create sustainable living for the people in their area as well as reforestation. Word of mouth has it, that they have built an aqueduct that brings water down to their village while simultaneously turning a water turbine. This turbine gives out 5,000 watts of power. Enough for every house to have a light bulb, and run Earth Train‘s computers. The best part is they are USA based, so there will be some native English speakers to help me perfect my Spanish. Earth Train is also bringing in four high school students, for a semester, to work with them and teach them about sustainable living and develop leadership skills.

The second NGO is CREA. I’m still not sure what that stands for, but they are specifically sustainable agriculture techniques. Hopefully these two NGO’s will be a great boon to our projects with Peace Corps as well as friends.

What else do I know? We do not have a Ye Ye site. (Ye Ye is a preppy, ritzy type of deal in Panama. Most Americans are Ye Ye.) In our village some of the houses have running water. However, the water is not potable. We will not have electricity. I guess we should figure out how to get that solar panel to work. We’ve heard we should use the panel to charge a car battery and then charge our computer from that. I’ve also heard tell that some company makes a Nalgene like bottle with a solar panel built into the lid. The solar panel, when charged, powers a LED that shines into the water which defuses the light, creating a lantern. Supposedly this little lamp can last up to eight hours when fully charged. Just a hint incase someone is thinking of something to send us.

We get to officially visit our site in week 8 of 10, which would be the second week in July.

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