It’s been just over three weeks since I touched ground in the green, tropical paradise of Panama. I arrived to a full house of energetic, passionate, hard working, intelligent, dedicated and fun people all working for Global Brigades. Yes, that was a bit of an adjective overload, but these individuals deserve every one of those descriptions. Together we create “Real World GB Panama”. The only thing missing is the hidden camera.
My main goal over the next few months before the rush of brigades in December is to find an array of environmental projects working with our existing partner organizations in addition to developing new partnerships for future brigades. Thus far I think this goal is more than attainable. I have been meeting with organizations doing amazing work in Panamanian communities, as well as people who are a wealth of information regarding environmental issues facing Panama and Panama’s biodiversity.
In addition to continuing to build on relationships that Global Brigdes has fostered here in Panama, I have been meeting many new and inspirational organizations through contacts. Panama, after all, is a tiny country which facilitates networking. Last week, for example, I met with a group of young Panamanian professionals interested in mitigating social-environmental issues. This group named the Colectivo Voces Ecológicas is in the planning stages of creating an educational and leadership training center, Escuela Popular Ecológica, in the Comarca Ngobé Buglé. COVEC is interested in working with Global Brigades, and I am more than excited to see how best Global Environmental Brigades might be able to help further COVEC and Comarca Ngobé Buglé’s vision.
There could not be a better time for Global Environmental Brigades to be starting in Panama. The environmental movement is just beginning here…Frank Gehry designed the new biodiversity museum (more on that later), and environemental NGO’s seem to be cropping up everywhere. It’s an exciting time to be involved and I can’t wait to get university students down here so that GEB can really be up and running (using alternative energy, of course!).