Monday, May 11, 2009


This is where I have class

Crazy dancing for el cumpleaños de mi hermano

View of Panama City

This is my host house

So the big news around here has been the election. Last Sunday was the big show. My family was for Balbina for president but Martinelli won. The night of the election was really intense especially since I stay near the school where all the voting goes down. There were celebrations going until 2 in the morning and nobody got much sleep. People don't really sleep in around here. My host mom's brother in law ran for local office but lost so he was really disappointed. Politics is a very different process here than in the US. To start with, voting is essentially mandatory. You need to vote to get a cedula (ID) and you need a cedula to do everything… at least this is how it was explained to me. Also, people are much more open about their politics. Americans, with many loud exceptions, are really hesitant to ask people who they support and talk about policies but here there is little pena. In our training town pretty much everyone has a party flag flying and a poster of their favorite candidate.

The following day was my host brother's birthday party. His actual birthday was the election but there was no time for a fiesta. A handful of the guys got kind of out of hand in a benevolent way. One was dancing and gritar-ing by himself from about 5 when I got home from class until 10:30 when we all went to bed. One gentleman decided to take a rest in the grass for a while. There were fireworks left over from the election and a truck of beer. There was arroz con pollo which may be my favorite dish I've had here. Everybody had a pretty great time and a few other trainees even stopped by and met my family.

My day to day schedule is pretty off the wall during training. We have language class and technical class, in which we talk about development and teaching and whatnot. That is the basic day but we have also had field trips to Panama City, Arraijan, and Chorrera doing scavenger hunts to learn the bus systems and have talks on health and things. Tomorrow we go to visit current volunteer sites. I'll be going to Bocas del Toro, the furthest province to the West. It's going to be an overnight trip and I'm a little nervous about all that traveling but luckily I will have another trainee making the journey with me. Everything I've heard about Bocas sounds really beautiful. It may be too remote for my tastes but we'll see when I get there if I would be comfortable in a site like that. I'm looking forward to narrowing down what I want.

The other big news is that I have a cell phone! Let me know in an e-mail if you want the number. I can receive calls for free and calling Panama can be dirt cheap so don't hesitate!


  1. Very glad to hear that things are going well for you. Just thought I'd leave a note to let you know that you are thought about and missed.

    Kelly Ochab

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words!