Hey everyone! How are you all doing? I hope all is well for each of you in the States.
I left town on Monday, August 14 and stayed in D.C. for two nights. They basically started us out in a really nice hotel for 2 nights and lots of talks about aspirations, anxieties, health and safety, etc. including every icebreaker activity you can think of. Then we left for Panama on Wednesday and arrived that night. The flight from Miami was short, only about 2.5 hours.
We are in a group of 37 people that are all serving in Panama. We are the 58th group to ever serve in Panama and the biggest group ever. Apparently, in recent years the economic growth has been very high (5 - 7%) however the distribution of wealth is very very uneven, second only to
Brazil for all of this hemisphere. We are on Central time right now and Panama never changes time.
So basically now I feel like I'm in a prolonged summer camp - - - - well, with the exception of the 20 minute language interview where I was not allowed to speak any English and the Yellow Fever Vaccination I just received, and hepatitis will be next here in about 2 hours. (Started taking the malaria pills last night). We are staying in this village about an hour outside of Panama City. It used to be occupied by a military group and is now used for camps, offices, etc. It is called Cuidad de Saber (City of Knowledge). There is really nothing here but the few little buildings. However, we are only a half mile from the first lock of the Panama Canal. It just looks like a giant damn. It's very pretty and green, with lots of palm trees everywhere and very high humidity. We now have
electricity and running water, but not really any hot water, just cold.
We will be leaving here tomorrow to go to stay with host families for the next 10 weeks of training in a town called Santa Clara. I'm having a great time, I just can't wait to find out where my job site is going to be. I should find out in about 4 weeks. Ok, well that's about all I know right now. I will write more whenever I can. I am not sure when I will have access to internet again. Take care and I'll talk to you later. Miss you all! Adios!
Shazia Davis shaziadavis@...