We are Peace Corps Volunteers!!! During a fancy, formal ceremony this afternoon at the home of the US Ambassador, we raised our right hands and stated the following: “I, (our name), do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, domestic and foreign, and that I take this obligation freely and without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge my duties in the Peace Corps by working with the people of Panama as partners in friendship and in peace.”
We had a great time mingling in the beautiful home of the Ambassador and enjoyed a reception after the ceremony in which we devoured the delicious food in true we’ve-been-in-Peace-Corps-training-so-we-haven’t-had-good-food-in-two-months style.
Head of Panama’s Department of Agriculture, US Ambassador to Panama, Peace Corps Country Director
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God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. (2 Samuel 22:33 KJV)
Last Friday afternoon, covered in sweat and mud, we arrived in our site for the first time! We live with the indigenous Ngobe people in the NoKribo region of the Comarca Ngabe-Bugle right on the border of the Bocas del Toro province. Getting to site is an adventure in itself. We take a 7 hour bus from Panama City west to the city of David. We stay overnight in a hotel in David (hooray! a hot shower! cooking shows on TV!) and the following morning, catch a bus in David headed north toward the city of Changuinola. After 2.5 hours on that bus, we get off at an obscure little stop, where we walk along a gravel road for about 20 minutes. Then, we cross a river on a footbridge, and so begins the final 45 minute walk to our village. The walk is mostly flat, but is quite muddy…
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Yesterday was a long, tiring, exciting day! We all arrived early to Peace Corps HQ in Panama City and after several motivational speeches and a lot of logistical information, the staff unveiled this map. There was a star on each site that would be assigned; green for the SAS (Sustainable Agriculture Systems) trainees and blue for we EH trainees.
SAS and EH both have a supervisor; they stood up in front and alternated announcing site placements. Each supervisor picked each site out of a bag and said a short statement about the site and then announced which trainee would be going there. Then, that person went up and placed their picture on the star. (The picture above is actually the map after everything had been announced and each person had placed their photo on their site.) This was a nerve-wracking process because our site was pulled out of the hat…
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