Saturday, January 3, 2009

I arrive to Panama

A view of Panama City´s skyline.
Bridge of the America´s!

It´s hot and sticky. Oh boy...this is going to be fun!

I arrived into Panama City, Panama at around 9am on a Friday morning. My first glimpse of Panama reminded me of Miami. The urban sprawl and the giant sky scrappers along the ocean could rival any US city. The taxi into town was quick, maybe a bit too quick. I´d like to do one more loop before I check into my hotel.

I´m staying in a small hostel in the middle of downtown. It´s a cramped space but that's ok, I´ve got no time to hang out, my to do list is growing out of control.

The first person I met was a guy named Charlie, he´s actually got the bed next to me in our little cramped room with no air con. He´s probably around 60, a very nice man, is a soft talker and moves kinda slow. He told me that he has been taking buses to Panama from his home town in Iowa. I asked him how long that took him...he didn´t give me a response. He´s kinda mysterious like that.

It´s kind of ironic that Charlie was the very first person I met. Why? Because within 5 minutes, Charlie, told me that his travelling had a very important purpose to him. He was travelling because he was visiting 3 of his sponsor children in Central America and South America. Once he said that, I thought to myself, that no way could this guy sponsor a child threw Plan USA. Of course, after I asked which charitable organization, he said that it was indeed Plan. It´s kind of strange how things work out.

Charlie went on with some stories about the children he was sponsoring. He said that it was amazing to finally meet the children that he has been in touch with all this time. One specific story stuck out for me. He said the the little girl that he was sponsoring in a small village outside of San Salvador in El Salvador wanted to be a doctor. Charlie mentioned that he spent over 30 years in health care, and of course knew what was needed to achieve this goal. He mentioned that this little girl, who had next to nothing in this small village, was full of excitement just to even talk about the opportunity of one day becoming a doctor. He concluded with this, ¨even though they don´t have much, you can still see that they want to learn, they give anything for an opportunity. Their still so full of life. I wish I could do more.¨
I asked Charlie if he liked Plan. ¨They're a great organization¨, he responded. At that moment I already felt a bit more connected to the work that Plan was doing.

So here I am. Panama City, Panama. I got a little over 2 weeks before I head out on the adventure of a life time. I have a million things to do before I leave. I have a million letters to write. And, of course, I got some last minute training to do. I´m excited about what this adventure will hold for me. I´m excited to spread the word on be half of Plan. I´m excited to get on the road.
Aaron

1 comment:

Ann said...

Hi Aaron,

Greetings from Guatemala!
I am also a sponsor of children with Plan USA and I am in touch with Chuck Donmoyer there. We are in the process of preparing Guatemala to welcome you here!

Let me know if you need anything along the way.

Another biker fundraiser just came through here the other day from the UK. Those guys were trekkin from California to Costa Rica..
You guys might wanna link. He was fundraising on a site called On Yer Bike. If you want to check it out, let me know.

Safe and fun travels!

Ann
Plan Guatemala