“This is the cabin crew speaking, please, fasten your seatbelts. We are about to land in Panama City.”
I turned my head to face the aircraft window and from the altitude, I could see an incredible line of tiny boats floating in the ocean. I said to myself, “I must be staring at the canal.”
As I exited the airport, a warm breeze welcomed me. While on my way to the hotel, I was entranced by the skyscrapers outlining the horizon, demonstrating Panama’s modernity. This was contrasted by stories from my Uber driver, Enrique. He shared with me the most interesting stories about Panamanian culture and history from his history classes. I hadn’t even been there an hour, and I was already in love with Panama.
Early the next morning, my Regional Director and I started our adventure to Penonomé. Penonomé has served as the staff city for the last 13 years that AMIGOS has been working in Coclé region, and I could clearly understand why. Winding streets, green parks and a beautiful white church are just some of the highlights of this magical city. These places are always in the beautiful glow of the sun that never goes away in this part of Panama.
One of my first activities was meeting with MINSA (Ministerio de Salud de la República de Panamá). Lourdes, our contact in MINSA, welcomed us. I have to confess that I can’t be happier to know that AMIGOS and MINSA will be working together for another summer. In this meeting, the bonds between both organizations were strengthened.
I was also lucky enough to visit some of this summer’s communities, including Tavidal Arriba, Vaquilla, and Tavidal Abajo. The communities were so warm and welcoming, opening their doors to making and me me feel like a Panamanian. They shared delicious fruits and showed me their landscapes during some breathtaking walks.
The most amazing part of my trip to Panama was the people connections that I had the chance to build. Beyond the connections I made with community members and partner agency representatives, I had the opportunity to meet so many other kind people. One of those people is Guillo. He has been an AMIGOS collaborator for many years. Guillo was the best tour guide; he made me walk like I have never had, but it totally worth it! He showed me both the old town and the modern part of Panama City; it was wonderful to see how peacefully these two worlds coexist together.
I honestly could write dozens of pages expressing how beautiful Panama is, and now have to say that I am so excited to know to be working in this amazing country full of sunshine, delicious fruits, breathtaking forests, and of course, loving people!
AMIGOS, get ready and preparen sus sombros, this adventure is starting soon!