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Buenas, siga ya está en Panamá!

To me, traveling is always a wonderful roller coaster of excitement and a bit of anxiety as you discover your new destination. I didn’t really have a clear idea of what Panama had in store for me but I was more than ready to get to know a culture very similar to mine but also unique and charming in its own right.

As soon as I stepped outside the plane I felt the warm breeze and I immediately knew everything was going to be great!

The contrast of Panama City is not only seen on its architecture from skyscrapers to Casco Viejo, but also the people you see on the streets, from indigenous Panamanians to expats, mestizos, and so much more. I was captivated from the beginning.

After a couple of days in Panama City getting ready some logistics for our wonderful upcoming volunteers, it was time to hop on a bus to Mata Oscura to discover what Fundación Agua y Tierra (FUNDAT) had to offer. We couldn’t be happier. Jacinto, FUNDAT’s president, is one of the most passionate people I have ever met about his job and that translates on the wonderful work FUNDAT has done to protect the turtles on the Panamanian Pacific coast and for the community in general. Jacinto and Diego were such great hosts and they are just an example of the awesome hospitality you will experience anywhere in Panama. After establishing a strong new partnership and getting the bases for our working plan for 2019, it was time to hit the road again to the staff city, Penonomé.

Once in Penonomé, it was time to get busy! My first task was meeting with MINSA, (Ministerio de Salud de Panamá) our primary partner agency for the last 13 years. Lourdes, Janeth, and Oscar have been such an amazing team to work with. They have helped me not only to get to know Penonomé, but also have guided me during the community visits, connecting AMIGOS with MEDUCA (Ministerio de Educaciٕón de Panamá), and have assisted with any questions, doubts, or concerns I have had so far. Our partnership with MINSA is extremely important to the success of all of our programs in the Coclé region.

I’m currently living with a host family just as any volunteer will do and it has giving me such a great insight of what I hope our volunteers get to experience. La familia Martinez has not only opened the doors of their house in Penonomé, but they have also included me in family trips to their home town in Valle de Anton, a beautiful town about 45 minutes-drive up the mountains. I thought being vegetarian was going to be a little challenging since meat is present in almost all Panamanian dishes, but arroz, porotos, and tostones have made it very easy. I cant get enough plantains! La señora Berta is making sure I get enough tostones in my new Panamanian life.

I’m confident Discover AMIGOS Panama will be an amazing ride for all of our volunteers and will mark the beginning of their journey as global citizens.

Alisten sus maletas, corazón y mente para una experiencia única!