First Full Week of Work - Driving in Panama
Panama City Travel Blog› entry 7 of 37 › view all entries
This marks my first full week of work here in Panama. Most of the week has been spent in briefings, orientations, and getting to know the ins and outs of the Region. The folks here are very pleasant to work with (laid back yet mission oriented).
Highlights from the week:
*I passed my driving test!!! The International Federation of Red Cross/Red Cresent requires that delegates pass a driving test upon start of their mission. As you may have read, traffic here in Panama is quite terrible, and I was a bit nervous going out. Antonio, our fleet assistant, required me to take a spin from out base headquarters (Old Howard Base, for those military buffs) to the heart of the city, where I am living. There were a couple of moments that I thought passing marks were out of the question, but I did pass, with the caviot that I "be a bit more agressive" when driving.
*Not only did I pass my driving test, but shortly thereafter, I accompanied my boss, Dario and the Canadian Delegate for a visit to the Panamanian Red Cross headquarters, to visit with the Director General. We drove two cars, my boss managing the first and the Canadian the other. After the meeting, my boss hands me the keys after asking the Canadian if he would accomany his to an ECHO meeting (European Union Humanitarian Aid Office), and stated "see you back at the office." Two problems: A) I wasnt really paying attenting to the route on my way to the Panamanian Red Cross and B) I was to take the larger of the two vehicles, our heavy duty stock (see pictures). After one miscalulate turn, I did find my way back to the office in one piece.
*It was decided this week that I will be the point of contact for our National Societies in the Caribbean. The Canadian is taking South American and the Spaniard Central America. Not quite sure what the duty will entail, however, much will revolve around giving National Societies a single person to work with to avoid their having to work with dozens of folks.
*Costa Rica here I come. I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Office of Foreign Development Agency (a USAID agency) to an OFDA Grants Training in San Jose Costa Rica next month. We are working on several potential grants with OFDA, so the training will be quite helpful.
Ive included some pictures of our office at PADRU. As I mentioned, the office is located on Old Howard Base, which space the American Government donated to the Panamanian Red Cross. They in turn allowed PADRU use of the facility.