Into to PC Panama
Hi everyone, This is my first communication from panama. the keyboard is weird, so sorryfor mistakes. peace corps training is like boot camp. the first 4 days, wewere on a retreat, or lockdown, at a former u.s. military base on the eastside of the panama canal. we could see the ships passing from our site,very cool. we had to have swimming tests,multiple vaccinations, languagetests and lots of bonding, given our first dosage of malaria pills (nocrazy dreams yet!). we´re kind of like sardines, as all 35 of us moved fromone area to the other. we are all in our 20s, so for once i am one of theoldest in my group. though we all have like minds and motivations, whichmeans we all get along really well.
on sunday, we moved to our training site, which is 1 1-2 hours west ofpanama city (simply Panama by people here), in a pueblo called santa rita,which has about 300 people. life is very simple here, and very poor. ilove my family- Alveo Ramos. even though i have technically surpassed theminimum level of language profiency (intermediate-mid) required by PeaceCorps, my language is still horrible in my opinion, so my fam is verypatient with me. We eat all our meals together, and walk to the neighborshouse to chat. Actually, i live with one of the most popular families intown, so often we sit on the porch and the people come to us.
There aren´tmany cars, we walk to class, which is held in little cabanas on theproperty of the richer families in town. My technical class´s cabana issituated next to an open chicken coop, so the roosters and stray dogs roamaround us. it has rained almost everyday. usually short but roughthunderstorms. the otherday during spanish class, my back was soaked fromrain, but it didn´t matter, the cool air is nice. For all you MIISérs Isaw Krista and Thomas the other day, they taught a nice class on strategicplanning.
We have language classes and techinical classes (ecotoursm) everyday for 4hrs each. At night, i take my bucket bath (no running water after 5pm)inthe dark before going to bed, and sleep on a pretty comfortable bed in theroom with my hermana Betzy. She is 18 and loves to chat. They say thatwomen are docile here, but not my family. The women dominate, are veryloud, proud and love to have fun, dancing, singing, whatever. There are 4women in the house plus me, and then the dad. Panamanian campo food is often fried- fried rice, fried hotdogs, friedbread, fried everything. the days i get fresh vegetables is a godsend. myfriend zach bought me an apple the other day, and it was the best damnapple i´ve ever had!!! The coffee, which i have every morning has powderedmilk, which often doesn´t dissolve, but whatever´.
We have already visited 2 volunteer sites, one being that of Saurin, afellow MIIS MI. his site was incredible- a hut he built by himself on LakeGatun, in the Colon region. Next week we will each be send on our own tovisit a current volunteer in Panama for 3 days. It will be our first timein Panama alone, so we are super excited to find out where we go. There israinforest, there´s lots of beach areas, there´s everything. It will benice to see more of Panama.
This is all for now,Please feel free to send me a real letter, on paper, that would be lovely. My address for the next 8 weeks is below. Please write emails too, though ican only check it once a week. Becca
Cuerpo de Paz Panama
Estata de Paitilla 55-2205
Panama, Republica de Panama