Saturday, January 17, 2009

Plan USA Headquarters, Panama City

Plan USA´s office in Clayton which is the old military base in Panama City, Panama. The Panama Canal is a few hundred meters behind the office.
Plan´s logo in the regional office.

Matthew Carlson and I.

Plan USA's headquarters for Central America and the Caribbean is located in Panama City. This is working out great!

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Matthew Carlson the Regional Program Support Manager. It was great to put a face with a name. Matthew has been with Plan for some time and he started out in "the field' which gave him some valuable experience. Now he works in the office, more behind the scenes, but I could tell that he has a wide grasp of the organization from all sides. You can tell that he has lived Plan's mission of helping others who need it most.

The headquarters was located in a area of Panama City called Clayton. It's the old US military base right next to Miraflowers Locks at the Panama Canal. Once I got out of the cab, before my meeting with Matthew, I could see a huge cruise ship slowly gliding along the Canal. It looked crazy because all around the ship there's mountains and jungle. It looked like a cruise ship slowly driving along a highway. Cool digs for the head office! Clayton is also home to some other serious government organizations and large non profit groups. Along with Plan USA the UN has a building, Red Cross has it's headquarters, and UNICEF to mention a few.

The meeting went great. We connected right off the bat...Matthew is a Bay Area native so it was cool to pass stories around from back home. I was also able to further introduce myself and give some more detail about the motivation for the trip as well as the goals and mission. Matthew also gave me a ton of information regarding some of the new projects that Plan's working on in Panama and Central America. There's a picture above of Matthew and I at his office.

We talked about some of the concerns. Everyday my "circle of concern" grows. We talked about safety concerns, biking concerns and regulations that Plan has at it's various villages. It was all very informative and a good way to iron out all the details.

I'm really excited because it looks like I'm going to be able to visit a few different Plan sponsored Villages In Central America. Matthew is going to pass me the contact information for the directors in the various countries. I'm excited for the opportunity to visit the villages, see the projects that there working on and meet the people that live there. The visits will only be brief but it will give me the opportunity to experience first hand the projects themselves. It will give me an opportunity to see where the donations are going too.

After the meeting I really felt a bit closer to the organization. I feel more confident that this ride, the awareness being raised and the money being donated is going to a good cause. Plan USA is doing some amazing work and they have a viable and workable vision for the future. They work in over 60 developing nations and have various programs that help people, especially children, living in poverty. All the people that I saw and met at Plan seemed to care about the company and the projects that they were working on.

I'm excited to get this show on the road. I'm excited to see, first hand, where all the hard work is going to. I'm excited to meet the people that are positively affected by Plan and their mission.

It was a great meeting!


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