Day 76 - Volunteer Service - First Week In Site

So we are official, really and truly Peace Corps Volunteers. The Swear-in was surprisingly both short and fun. We were at the Canal Museum in Panama City there were about five - two minute speaches. Then we took an oath promising to help those we could and faciliate the exchange of culture between the United States of America and Panama. Then afterwards we got a private tour of the museum. It was quite nice. Everyone went out to dinner afterwards to an Italian restaurant. I had a salad that was almost half feta cheese.

Side note: My salad of feta cheese was delicious. One thing Panama is ripe for is good world cuisine. Cheese in Typico food is usually oily individually wrapped American style cheese, simply referred to as "the yellow cheese". The white cheese, know as queso blanco, is crumbly and tasteless. Ususually a chunk of it is served with breakfast. I guess one of the benefits of being in a site with out electricity is we won't be subjected to the terrible cheese. Although the downside of that is we won't have access to cheese at all, and you all know how much Jeff likes his cheese.

So back to the night of Swearing In, after the lovely dinner we went on to a wine bar. It was a nice evening, however, I tripped over a piece of pipe sticking about two inches or so out of the sidewalk and ripped a big chunk of skin off my pinky toe so I didn't feel like dancing. After tripping over the piece of pipe I started to notice that it is really common for bits of pipe or rebar to be sticking up out of the sidewalk. How the women here walk around in super high heals with out serious injury is a skill I need to learn.

We had the Friday and Saturday off after our Swear-In and Jeff and I and about 14 others from our group headed down to Santa Clara for a weekend at the beach. We rented two cabanas, one with a complete kitchen, for $15 a person and had a lovely time on the white sand beach, sipping drinks on the deck.

Sunday we arrived in our site after about six hours of traveling from Panama City. It is nice to finally unpack for a while. We have settled in with our host family easily. I have learned how to make Pataconies, the Panamanian version of French fries made from fried plantains. Basically you heat a pot with a half inch of oil then cut the plantains into one inch sections. Fry the plantains in the oil and then take them out of the oil, squish the plantains into flat disks then refry them. Put some salt on top and serve them for any meal you wish.

Right now we are actually back in Panama City because Jeff has a doctor's appointment. He did something to his back and if he bends back too far it hurts. They've done X-rays and stuff and they don't seem to think it is serious. He's going to a follow up appointment right now, and they are going to give him some exercises to strengthen his core muscles. Since Jeff is in for the appointments I get some free time at the computer lab.

By the way, Jeff did get the virus eliminated. Our lap top is great, although we currently have no way to charge it in site.


  1. Congratulations on being full volunteers! We love reading about your adventures.

  2. Anonymous8/14/2007

    Jeff and Foy,
    I hope that you back is getting better Jeff, and I agree that there is a problem down here with the cheese. Anyways its great to read your blog and see what the fellow PCV are up to.