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Tuesday, July 17 2018 @ 01:40 PM EDT

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U.S. Embassy and Riba Smith Inaugurate Project in Emberá-Wounaan Comarca

Groups & Organizations The United States Embassy, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and in collaboration with the leaders of the Emberá-Wounaan Comarca, inaugurated the first plantain collection and preparation plant in the Río Chico region in Darién. During the ceremony, the consolidation of the commercial pact between the communities and the Riba Smith supermarkets for the supplying of plantains was also celebrated.

Dan Smolka, Director of USAID-Panama said “This plant will allow growers in the region to place their goods in bigger markets and sell more. This way, there will be more jobs and more resources for the community.” The Director added that “The Riba Smith supermarkets are excellent clients and we hope others join the list.”

Since the beginning of the Sustainable Community Forestry Program in Darien in 2010, the USAID has offered technical and entrepreneurial assistance to the plantain growers of the Emberá-Wounaan Comarca. With the use of technology in the production and harvest processes, a better quality and quantity of products is obtained. Around 14,000 plantains are sold to Riba Smith supermarkets on a monthly basis, and between 8,000 and 12,000 plantains per week are sold to the farmer’s market in Panama City. This alternative and environmentally-friendly activity has generated bigger incomes for growers and their families, which is part of the Panamanian Government and USAID’s strategy to promote the preservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources in the Darién region.

The USAID is commemorating its 50 years in Panama, during which it has contributed to the country’s development through infrastructure projects, as well as programs in the agricultural, health and education sectors. All the USAID development activities have been implemented in collaboration with the government of Panama and have improved the lives of millions of Panamanians across the country. Due to the extraordinary accomplishments and Panama’s robust economic growth, the USAID mission in Panama will be phasing out this year. However, local institutions or new public-private partnerships will offer continuity to many of the programs. Since 1962, the USAID has contributed over a billion dollars for Panama’s development. Even after USAID closes its doors, the U.S. Embassy anticipates a continued commitment in matters of development and cooperation to face the coming challenges in a joint fashion. (US Embassy Panama Press Release)

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Inauguration of “Por mi Barrio” Center with Alcance Positivo/USAID

Groups & Organizations The United States Government, through their Agency for International Development (USAID), and in collaboration with the Municipal Committee for Violence Prevention of Panama and the Ayudando a Vivir Foundation, inaugurated the ‘Por Mi Barrio’ Youth Center in the December 24th sector of the Cabuyita sub-district. U.S. Ambassador Phyllis Powers participated in the inauguration, along with district authorities, social actors of this sub-district and institutional authorities that shared with members of the community.

During her visit to the Center, Ambassador Powers stressed how proud the U.S. government was of being able to support the creation of these spaces for cultural, educational and psychological orientation activities that can affect Panamanian youth positively. The general coordinator of the Youth Center, Eduardo Barsallo, highlighted that the Center offers a secure place in the December 24th region where vulnerable youth can be assisted with school tutoring classes, a space and tools to engage in recreational and sports activities, access to internet and other technologies, vocational skills training, psychological orientation and art and volunteering workshops.

So far 14 ‘Por Mi Barrio’ Youth Centers have been inaugurated, in communities in Panamá, Colón and Darién, with the primary objective of driving home the five points of violence protection in social risk youth. This is done through the Alcance Positive Program, and the center will be managed by the Ayudando a Vivir Foundation.

The USAID is commemorating its 50 years in Panama, during which it has contributed to the country’s development through infrastructure projects, as well as programs in the agricultural, health and education sectors. All the USAID development activities have been implemented in collaboration with the government of Panama and have improved the lives of millions of Panamanians across the country. Due to the extraordinary accomplishments and Panama’s robust economic growth, the USAID mission in Panama will be phasing out this year. However, local institutions or new public-private partnerships will offer continuity to many of the programs. Since 1962, the USAID has contributed over a billion dollars for Panama’s development. Even after USAID closes its doors, the U.S. Embassy anticipates a continued commitment in matters of development and cooperation to face the coming challenges in a joint fashion.

For more information on Alcance Positivo, please visit our webpage www.alcancepositivo.org, write us an email at info@alcancepositivo.org or find us in Facebook: Alcance Positivo. You can also follow us on Twitter: @alcancepositivo. (Press Release)

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Navy League of Panama Scholarship Awards Dinner

Groups & OrganizationsWe are pleased to be presenting our scholarship awards to two cadets from Panama's international maritime university, UMIP. Our event will take place at Los Años Locos on March 13th at 7 pm. We will have an open bar from 7 to 9. How important is our award? Last year, one cadet was literally days away from dropping out due to the lack of funds. We appreciate all your support. To those who have made commitments to support the fund, please bring your checks to the event or arrange a time to meet. By the way, the link below has some shots of Thad Chamberlain and his guests on their 30 minute helicopter tour of the Canal: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.321508831228537.74384.159851200727635&type=1&l=467532c97e Event details: Time: 7:00 pm Place: Los Años Locos Date: March 13, 2012 Dress: Business casual Ticket: $45 lease RSVP to this email address - navy.league.panama@gmail.com. Kind regards, Hunter Schultz President Navy League Panama
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An invitation from your friends at ART IN THE PARK VI

Groups & OrganizationsPlease attend Art in the Park VI. Friday nite, 7pm Concert Openning and on Saturday, March 17, 9a.m.-4p.m. attend the pictoric art festival. Located in the Park in the center of Penonome in front of the large Catholic Church. This is THE SIXTH YEAR our community has had the opportunity to support young talent who may not be able to cultivate the career of their dreams on their own and need a scholarship to study and hone their craft. Please support these students by attending the event in the park. Enjoy the beautiful, picturesque plaza that is so typical and quaint in the heart of Penonome. Linger at the many paintings of the students and professionals that are offered for sale at very reasonable prices. There will be works by some of the best artists in the country at this venue.

Marilyn Hargrove of Playa Blanca and New Mexico, an artista herself, has supported this event from the begining, will be honored at the event this year. Realizing that the art is a heartfelt expression of a country full of pride and creativity, please take your time to take it in. Enjoy the music. Also, take in the local color and food at one of the local restaurants such as El Tamarindo. There will be available to buy a $3.00 raffle ticket for a chance to win the beautiful Mayo Hassan painting donated by the artist. This painting is presently hanging in the El Tamarindo Restaurant in Penonome for you to view prior to the event.

This year, The committee working on the event has been able to attain 4 scholarships for art materials ($525.00 each). One from GANEXA (the excellent art school in the city) and 3 from the municipality of Penonome. Last year Ganexa awarded our student contest winner a full scholarship worth several thousands of dollars. We need more of these to help the best students who can’t afford the tuition on their own. If you can help in any way, please contact Marilyn K Hargrove at jdmh2002@msn.com.

Having the support of the Beach and Mountain Communities in the interior is vital to the event and very much appreciated by the artists and the committee. Will you please be there? We need you. Thank you. Directions: As you enter Penonome from the direction of Coronado, you will come to a “V” in the road in front of Dos Continentes Hotel. Take the “V” to the right and go straight through this Commercial Center of town for several blocks until you see the large white church and have to turn to the left. The park is there in front of the church. You will find parking at the church and around the Park.

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Upcoming Expat Socials and Gatherings - Panama City and Pacific Beach Area

Groups & Organizations By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - On Wednesday, 29 February 2012 (leap year - grin) I'll be hosting a social gathering / networking / party / get together at the new Primi restaurant in Panama City, located in the San Francisco neighborhood. Please click on the link to see additional details about the restaurant, including a map and the location. The doors will open at 6:30 pm and there will be a one hour happy hour on the back patio to meet people, talk, say "hi" or what have you. Then at about 7:30 pm or so anyone who wants can wander into the restaurant and eat dinner. After dinner attendees can then meet back up on the patio again and hang out as long as you want. The restaurant's owner Jose Ignacio said happy hour drink prices (2 for 1) will be in effect all night, and he's also going to be putting out some snacks and appetizers. Attendees will be ordering off of the regular menu, and retiree discounts will be given if applicable. Everyone can eat or drink as much or as little as they want, and the cost will vary depending on whatever you order or consume with individual tabs per person or couple or what have you. The idea is to simply hold a "gathering" of old friends and new - to create an opportunity for people to meet new contacts among the members of the English speaking community of expatriates here in Panama. And the idea of doing this on 29 February appeals to my goofy sense of humor for some reason. Please RSVP to don@panama-guide.com so I can give Jose a headcount of expected attendees.

Playacommunity Mixer on Thursday: Then, the following day, Thursday, 1 March 2012, Jamuna Burry has organized the Playacommunity Mixer that will be held starting at 11am at the Paraiso Restaurant and Bar in Las Uvas, located on the road to El Valle. For all of the details on that event, please click the link to see the earlier article already published.

Spread the Word, Tell Your Friends: I am a firm believer in the power of networking. If you know more people here in Panama, if you've met them personally and if you have their names, phone numbers, and email addresses in your contact list, then chances are you will be able to "reach out" to an expert on (whatever) when the need arises. Hopefully dozens of people will show up for these events, and surely everyone who comes will benefit from having attended in one way or the other. See you there.

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

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St. Patty’s Day “FUN-raiser” at Finca La Maya

Groups & OrganizationsSaturday 17 March, 3-7 pm, in San Carlos. Come compete, try your luck, or simply join the party, all to help support children in Panama’s interior communities! Golfers, families, children and gamers are invited come to the famous Finca La Maya annual benefit party.

Festivities will include a golf accuracy competition, bocce ball tournament, ping-pong tournament, road-apple roulette, and more. Children will perform the “pollera tipico” (Panama's traditional dance), there will be music, BBQ and refreshments. Fantastic prizes will be offered such as fishing excursions, golf prizes, surf lessons, beach getaway weekends, beauty and massage treatments, and gift certificates for popular restaurants, spas, and hotels in the beach communities.

Proceeds for the benefit will provide scholarships and study materials for outstanding young students in La Maya’s free classes held every Saturday. Individuals or companies who can donate an item or service are encouraged to contact Finca La Maya directly. Be part of our WINNING TEAM and success stories: sponsor a child / student of your choice. Some of the older students from La Maya’s English classes have been accepted into universities and some have applied for international scholarships offered in English-speaking countries.

Finca La Maya is a non-profit activity in Panama. Its goal is to enhance educational and vocational opportunities for local Panamanians by providing free enrichment programs in language, culture and the arts. La Maya’s programs include English language courses, “Art for Kids”, a computer lab and a community library offering bi-lingual books and DVDs. Up to one hundred participants have attended the weekly free community programs at the facility in San Carlos, coming from Panama’s Pacific coast interior communities as far away as Chorrera and Rio Hato.

La Maya welcomes families and residents as well as those who want to learn more about how these extraordinary programs are changing the lives of local families. For more information please call (507) 240-8281, email info@fincalamaya.com or for details and driving directions visit the web site at http://www.fincalamaya.org

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

Groups & OrganizationsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - 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 Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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U.S. Embassy Panama Celebrates Black History Month with a Stand at the Grand West Indian Fair

Groups & OrganizationsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - U.S. Embassy Panama Celebrates Black History Month with a Stand at the Grand West Indian Fair. Visit U.S. Embassy's stand at the Grand West Indian Fair! We'll have information about our scholarship programs and about the Afro-descendant and Afro-American history. We'll also commemorate the "Black History Month" which is celebrated every February in the United States. Read more about the "Black History Month" here: http://goo.gl/fBUV6. During the Fair, on February 18 and 19, there will be performances, music, dances, sale of food and arts and crafts. Everyone is welcome to attend! Adults pay $5 and children under 12, $2. For more information contact Susan at SAMAAP at (507) 501-4130.

Editor's Comment: The fair will be this weekend, from 12:00 noon until 8:00 pm, both Saturday and Sunday, at the Atlapa Convention Center.

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

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USS INGRAHAM, Coast Guards and People to People Donation

Groups & Organizations On February 9th, twenty crew members from the USS INGRAHAM, along with members of the US Coast Guard, People to People representative Marcelo Hevia, and Michelle Vaughn from the Public Affairs Office, traveled to Arraijan to complete a community relations project at a nearby orphanage, “San Jose de Malambo.” The group donated bedding materials, soccer balls, and office supplies.

Lourdes Reiss Flores, head Nun at the orphanage, stated that, “The donation will make many kids very happy.” The orphanage consists of eighth houses located in the village of Cerro Silvestre and hosts close to 200 children during the academic year.

The crew toured the orphanage, enjoyed interacting and playing soccer with the children, and expressed their hope that they would be able to return sometime soon to paint and perform electrical work on the buildings.

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Date Change - Playacommunity Mixer - Now Thursday, 1 March 2012

Groups & OrganizationsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - (Update - After the publication of this article last week, we realized the originally scheduled date of Wednesday, 22 Feb 2012, was the day after the end of the Carnival celebrations in Panama. "Fat Tuesday" is the 21st of February. On Wednesday the 22nd, every Panamanian in the world is going to be driving on the Pan-American highway, returning to Panama City from the interior of the country. On this day every year the traffic can literally be bumper-to-bumper from Coronado all the way to the Bridge of the Americas. In order to avoid the traffic pain Jamuna decided to reprogram the event for Thursday, 1 March 2012. Everything else is still good. See you there. Original article follows:)

Many of the English speaking expatriates in Panama live in the areas near the Pacific beaches, in places like Coronado, Vista Mar, Playa Blanca, and Altos de Maria. Jamuna Burry is the owner and editor of the www.playacommunity.com website. She mostly focuses on news and events directly related to the community of expats living in these areas. And, she organizes "Playacommunity Mixer" events about once a month or so. I ran into Jamuna on Saturday, 17 December 2011, at the inauguration of the new Nitro City Action Sports Resort in Chame, and she asked me if I would attend an upcoming mixer. Yesterday she issued the following release;

  • Boy O Boy! Do I have some exciting news about February's Playacommunity Mixer. Don Winner, the man behind Panama-Guide.Com has already RSVP-ed! If you are anything like me, you would probably love to corner this guy and ask him a million questions. Well, you are going to get the chance to do so. Don will be at the Microphone at 11 a.m to give us a few antidotes and answer questions from the floor. Don Winner has been running Panama-Guide.Com since August 2004. He has been instrumental in the capture of 4 killers who were hiding in Panama, the most famous of which is Wild Bill. Don is becoming a common presence on Panama TV, and has also been interviewed by ABC, NBC and CBS. He is a man with an opinion, and knows a heck of a lot about Panama.

  • Playacommunity Mixer is on Wednesday, February 22, (now Thursday, 1 March 2012), at 11am at Paraiso Restaurant and Bar in Las Uvas. Rose will be putting on her famous $10 buffet. Buffet and drink tickets will go on sale at 12 p.m. To get there take the InterAmerican highway, turn up the road to El Valle. Paraiso is 3 kilometers up, on the left hand side. As always we will have prizes to give away, and fun ways to win.

  • Remember to RSVP for this event, so Rose has a heads up of how many people to prepare for.

Looking Forward To It: Beyond Jamuna's kind words, I've met a lot of people who live in the beach areas, and they are all very nice. I try to get up that way when I can, but it's different for someone like me who just stops in for a couple of days, and for residents who are there day-in and day-out. I also like to keep track of what's going on in the different communities when possible - like - I understand they are finally going to shut down the dump on the road to Playa Blanca? Anyway, I'm looking forward to it.

Google Earth Placemark: I've uploaded a Google Earth Placemark for the Paraiso Restaurant and Bar. If you click on that link a placemark file (which has a .kmz file extension) will automatically be downloaded to your computer. If you have the Google Earth software loaded on your system, when you open that file the Google Earth program will automatically launch, and it will "fly" you right to the location of the Paraiso Restaurant and Bar. It's that's a technological bridge too far for you, no matter, because the restaurant is really easy to find. Just turn off of the Pan-American highway on the road to El Valle. The restaurant is located a half a mile up on your left. See you there!

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

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