Panamerican Proceeding

Lend me an ear and you will hear the rants and raves of this volunteer. "Nothing is stronger than the heart of a volunteer" says Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle (parden the pun), but perhaps no one is crazier either. Why do we care so much? Herein lies a glimpse of my Pan-American experience.

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Location: Bocas Del Toro, Panama Este, Panama

The proceeding 'Panamerican' is a Master's International Student and Peace Corps Volunteer. Disclaimer: Contents are the author's viewpoints only, (need to stress only), and many may have been written on particularly poor days.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


So here I am at this 1980s computer with wires hanging everywhere and for the first time in my life I have nothing to say.... We lost our first trainee today. I want to respect his privacy, but let me say that I really liked this cat. I didn´t get a chance to talk to him before he left, I really hope everything is alright back home. I mean, he wasn´t that sick or anything, especially not sicker than the rest of us sickos. I spent a lot of time with him too, he was really funny.

I remember thinking about 5 days ago that if I get to a computer this month, I should really say ____ . It´s driving me crazy. The ticker says I have 10 more minutes left too! Here´s a fun game, Brandon: What´s been the most surprising thing for you this far? Umm....I don´t know Alex, perhaps the utter horendousness of my Spanish skills (or typing skills for that matter...or any of my skills for that matter). But I guess my biggest surprise is in my head. For some unknown reason, I cannot comprehend that I´m here. I´ve traveled a lot too. This isn´t my first rodeo, but this one just isn´t real. I´m numb and emotionless. I don´t understand and I don´t care. I´m going through the motions and I´m a spectator in my life. I really need to snap outta this.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Peace Corps Development Philosophy

So one day a Panamanian was walking through the jungles of Darien and fell into a hole. Unable to climb out of the large hole, he began to yell for help. A missionary happened to be within earshot and approached the hole. ¨What seems to be the problem?¨ ¨Well, I´m stuck down here in this large hole and I can´t get out,¨ the Panamanian expressed. ¨I know what will help! The gracious love of God! Here is a bible, confess your sins and adopt the Good Lord Jesus as your Savior.¨ So the Panamanian takes the bible.

After a few days, he´s read the bible, but he´s still stuck in the hole so again he yells for help. This time, an international NGO hears his pleas. ¨What´s seems to be the problem?¨ ¨Well I´m stuck in this large hole and I can´t get out.¨ ¨I know what will help! Here´s $100, you need to buy a ladder!¨ So the Panamanian takes the $100, but since he´s in the hole, he can´t buy a ladder.

Soon the Panamanian cries for help again and this time a Peace Corps Volunteer hears his cries. ¨What seems to be the problem?¨ ¨Well, I´m stuck in this large hole and I can´t get out.¨

¨What are you doing?¨ he then asks. ¨I´m a Peace Corps Volunteer, I´m climbing down the hole so I can live with you!¨

Friday, August 18, 2006

Beating myself up hurts.

Overall things are going pretty good. Of the 17 Enviornmental Health Workers, only 2 of us may have electricity at our posts. I can tell you right now that I won't be on the water. Apparently my swimming skills are horrible, or nonexistent.

Tomorrow we visit somebody, somewhere to see something he's working on. What day is it?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I don't hate you either, Brandon.

So this dork's inspiring words to the group as training was completing was..."I don't hate you yet." Wow, I couldn't have said it better myself.

Honestly, the training group is excellent. It is so nice to be surrounded by inspired and inspiring people that think exactly the same way as you. We are all 20-something wannabe-somethings; for once my friends don't think I'm crazy (or even a little bit dreamy). As my future extremely poor friends and I sit drinking mochas on the patio overlooking limos and the Washington Monument, we ponder, "Who will be the first to quit?" "Who don't you want to be stationed with?" Then I wonder if I'm the answer to these questions in other social circles.

It's good to have my buddies Ryu and Jess here to remind me that good friends will always be there. Wow, listen to me rant! No wonder I've been invited to study in the City of Knowledge.

Ok, one last word of wisdom to all future travellers to Panama. Apparently the American Armed Forces aren't too well liked in Panama. I dunno...something to do with injustice, greed, and politics. Anyway, one easy way of eliminating soldiers is to eliminate camouflage. (I just deleted the joke I had inserted here.) Now insert dumb hick Brandon and give him a camouflage backpack - not a good combination. Long story short - don't bring a camouflage backpack to Panama.

Friday, August 11, 2006

(Not so) Great Expectations

So I'm really sick of PC asking me what my expectations are. Uhh... I dunno.... Get sick? Truth is, the first thing that happens after ones makes an expectation is he finds out it was wrong. So following my dad's advice, here are 10 expectations for the next 2 years.

1. I expect that all road construction around Wausau will be done upon my return. Forever.
2. I expect I will get sick. There you have it.
3. I expect my amazing girlfriend will find it easier to have me gone than she expects.
4. John McCain will be president in 2008 to find a house of dems.
5. Terrorists will continue to save Bush's ass.
6. It will be released that we killed Bin Laden as the presidential race is heating up. Truth be told, he died of kidney failure several years back.
7. My friends will get richer without me.
8. I expect to tire of rice and beans.
9. I will discover the meaning of life; but will be too malnurished on rice and beans to remember it.
10. I will meet my future best friends while having the greatest time of my life. Is that too much to ask?

(11.) I expect all my bloggy friends will comment on their expectations for the next 2 years as well. See you in Panama!