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Tuesday, June 18 2019 @ 12:46 AM UTC

"We Want To Do Something To Help, Where Should We Start?"

Groups & OrganizationsBy DON WINNER for - Received today via email: "Hi Don ---- My wife and I are pensionado ex-pats from the U.S. We would love to find something that we can do in the community that is both mentally challenging and useful to the community. We would appreciate any suggestions you have for whom we can contact or how else we can follow up on this. Thanks and best wishes . . . . . PS."

I Hear 'Ya: I don't know where you live (what part of Panama) but there are existing charity organizations all over Panama which already have expat participation. You might look into one of those. Of course you might want to start your own thing - just find a need and go. For ideas and ways to identify legitimate need you can start with the existing community groups like churches for example. And you want to structure your organization at least enough to make sure whatever you're doing is getting into the hands of the right people and not being abused or siphoned off. You might also contact the leadership of the existing groups and organizations in other parts of the country for ideas. Sorry I couldn't be of more help. When you do get up and running let me know. I always promote the activities of non-profits for free. And when in doubt, if all else fails, you can always give free English lessons in your living room. Good luck.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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"We Want To Do Something To Help, Where Should We Start?" | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
\"We Want To Do Something To Help, Where Should We Start?\"
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 22 2012 @ 04:55 PM UTC

In the US there are "Adopt a Highway" programs where large or small groups of people or businesses adopt a section of a roadway to maintain garbage free. In exchange for this charitable service, the city allows the group to erect a small sign identifying their group as those who provide the charitable service.

Panama is in desperate need of such charitable community services.

The area or roadway, or intersection area does not have to be very large. Near my house/work my co-workers/friends & I adopted a four way intersection. One saturday per month we get together for an hour or so with our orange garbage bags, gloves and tools to pick-up discarded litter. We are proud of our adopted intersection. In the Spring we even plant small beds of flowers to brighten up the area. When we are done cleaning up our intersection we leave the blaze orange garbage bags for the city garbage crew to pick-up when they do their normal rounds. The orange bags are easily seen by those who pass by. This reminds them that their fellow citizens are putting in effort to keep the community clean.

Since we've started, it has become easier and easier to keep our intersection clean because the example we set has influenced passers-by not to litter.

Perhaps if expats band together to "set the example" the locals will join-in or follow suite and perhaps those that throw trash from their cars will give second though if they see their neighbors and friends are making an effort to keep their little part of the world clean.


\"We Want To Do Something To Help, Where Should We Start?\"
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 22 2012 @ 05:04 PM UTC

Yes, ask the leadership of the various groups like American Society and Navy League. We all have contacts for people working on improving lives here in Panama.


\"We Want To Do Something To Help, Where Should We Start?\"
Authored by: oldmanandthesea on Wednesday, February 22 2012 @ 05:54 PM UTC

The very last thing I would want to do is to put any damper on your enthusiasm to do good works, but I need to give some cautions. Panamanians seem to be very sensitive about gringos coming here and telling them how to live. Years ago I helped two other people buy school books for the kids on Isla Cana. In addition I tried to get some of the residents there to help me clean up all the trash that littered the beach. In both cases I ran into a lot of hostility because evidently they felt I was criticizing them and trying to tell them how to live. Maybe it was just the way I went about it, without giving any thought to the unintended consequences, but the results were totally unexpected on my part.

Another time I was visiting Dino Berkema in La Jamina for carnival and I noticed that there was a ditch in front of the school that filed up with water every time it rained and the kids had to walk through the water to enter the school. I offered to pay $200 to have the ditch filed so they wouldn't have to do that. The village elders decided that they would accept my $200, but to build a sign for La Jamina at the highway as the weren't concerned about the kids walking through the water. I refused and they were real pissed at me.

I wish you a lot of luck in your endeavors.

Clyde Jenkins

\"We Want To Do Something To Help, Where Should We Start?\"
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 22 2012 @ 10:34 PM UTC

Whenever looking to provide assistance, one must do so in a manner that honors the recipient. Pride is a tough ego to crack, is easily offended and makes this known quite readily. One should exhibit honest sympathy and encouragement and later ask, 'what can be done to help'.