Bienvenidos a Panama!

August 15, 2008

I’ve finally arrived in Panama, and quite frankly I wasn’t sure I’d ever reach this point, but here I am. I’ll be keeping this blog in an attempt to stay in touch with all of you back in the States. You should expect this blog to be updated every two to four weeks, or whenever I have internet access. With any luck, you’ll be able to follow along with my travels through pictures and these descriptions of what I’ve been up to.

I’ll definitely be looking forward to your messages from back home, and will be able to access my email every two to four weeks as well. If you would like to send a letter, you can send any mail to the address below, but it may be up to a month or more before I receive it. I will have to return to Peace Corps Headquarters to pick-up mail.

My mailing address:

Joshua Durant
Cuerpo de Paz
Edificio 104, Ave. Vincente Bonilla
Ciudad del Saber, Clayton
Panama, Republica de Panama

With that preamble out of the way, you may be wondering what I’ve been up to since I left DC. The first two days were spent at our staging event in Miami at a nice hotel in Coconut Grove. The days were spent filling out forms, listening to lectures on culture shock and coping, and preparing for our arrival in Panama.

Flying in over Panama was an impressive experience. From the air, the countryside is amazingly green, and noticeably empty of inhabitants. Panama is also incredibly narrow, from the time we crossed the coast on the Carribbean side to the time we crossed the Pacific coast was less than 10 minutes. Flying into Panama City we got a good view of the city from the air, and the amount of development taking place is impressive. Downtown Panama has dozens of skyscrapers currently under construction.

After getting through customs, we took a bus from the airport to our accomodations at the Ciudad del Saber in Clayton, Panama. Fort Clayton was the former site of the US military and the Joint Forces Southern Command. Now it serves as a base of operations for NGOs in Panama. Our accomodations are dorm style apartments located in former barracks. From Peace Corps HQ, you can see ships passing through one of the locks in the canal. Our days so far have been spent filling out forms, getting vaccinations, doing interviews, meeting staff and learning about the Peace Corps programs in Panama. We’ve been busy. Tomorrow’s big event is a trip to a local mall in the evening, before we head to our training location on Sunday.

Ok, I think that about does it for now, so here are a couple of pictures. I promise there will be more in the future.

A night out at Big Pink in South Beach.

Our accomodations in the Ciudad del Saber.


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August 15, 2008

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