"Las Bonitas" by Jessica Moore in the Comarca Emberá-Wounaan. Panama Calendar 2015 Junio.


Promote the spirit of Peace Corps Panama service by:

  • Helping members stay in touch with Panama and with each other
  • Supporting the Peace Corps mission in Panama
  • Sharing knowledge of Panama and the Peace Corps with others

How It All Started

Peace Corps Panama Friends was started in a bar (where else) in Washington, DC, in 1986, during the celebration of the Peace Corps’ 25th anniversary.  Mike Nagle and Steve Spangler passed around bar napkins and asked everyone to write their addresses and phone numbers (there were no email addresses then).

The idea for a Peace Corps Panama alumni group began earlier, during planning for the Peace Corps’ 25th Anniversary in 1986.   Steve Spangler called the National Council of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, the precursor of the National Peace Corps Association, and asked, “Who is planning activities for Panama?”  They responded, “You are. What’s your name and address?”

Current Peace Corps Panama Friends Board

Ina Hysi
Group 65 (2010 – 2013)
Community Environmental Conservation
San Andres, Chiriqui

What was the funniest time you messed up a Spanish/Ngobere phrase?
There I was, meeting with the director of the colegio for the first time, repeating over and over how “embarazada” I was about getting his name wrong…. Needless to say, that was the second biggest reason why I was embarrassed that day. Pero bueno, it happens.

What is your favorite Panamanian food?
::Prepare for half of you to go “guacala!”::   PIFA! Now I know this will create some controversy but, I absolutely love pifa. Add a glass of full fat leche La Chiricana and you have the best thing you have EVER eaten in your life!  


Vice President
Savannah Hicks
Group 70  (2012 – 2014)
Teaching English
Pesé, Herrera


What was the funniest time you messed up a Spanish/Ngobere phrase?
I walked into my host family’s house after a long day at school and I was starving. To communicate this to my host mom I said “Llego con mucho HOMBRE!!” She and my host sister just laaaaaaghed and I immediately realized my mistake, trying to correct myself: “hambre! Hambre! Llego con mucho hambre!”. To the end of my service my host family would say – remember that time you got home from school with many men??

What is your favorite Panamanian food?
Ojaldres con bistec picado. Nothing can beat a freshly cooked ojaldre!! Though a carimanola is an extremely close second.

LaTaurus Whitley
Group (2014 – 2016)
Sustainable Agriculture Systems
La Pedregosa, Cocle


What was the funniest time you messed up a Spanish/Ngobere phrase?
I had eaten way too many oranges, too much pesa de nance and everything guisado (all very acidic).  My acid reflux had flared up terribly, so I went to the store to see if they had any medicine to help.  I explained “que mi pechuga duele bastante y necesito algo.”  The store owner laughed at me instead of helping, so I questioned what was so funny?! I was in pain and she was laughing..  She said chicken’s have pechuga and you have a pecho.. I laughed along with her and then bought my meds!

What is your favorite Panamanian food?
My favorite Panamanian food are hojaldres and pollo guisado.


Sara Taylor
Group 65 (2010 – 2012)
Tourism and English Advising
Embera Puru, Chagres National Park, Panama



What was the funniest time you messed up a Spanish/Ngobere phrase?
In 2007 I had a benign tumor removed from my breast. A few weeks after I was hanging out with a few friends and they asked where I had been. I replied that I had a minor surgery on my “picha”, but not to worry everything was fine. Everyone looked a little taken aback, but no one said anything. A few minutes later someone finally asked, did you really mean picha Sara? Yeah, I didn’t mean picha, I meant pecho. Ooops!

What is your favorite Panamanian food?
My favorite Panamanian food is hands down hojaldras. Salty, chewy, with a crisp outside crust!

Panama Liaison
Catherine “Cat” Fabiano
Group 63 (2009 – 2011)
Community Environmental Conservation
El Norteño, Bocas del Torro


What was the funniest time you messed up a Spanish/Ngobere phrase?
During a work day with the tree nursery group, I was asked, “Mä gwa kwete?”, meaning “Do you eat fish?”. To this I responded, “Jä! Ti kwa kwete!” meaning, “Yes! I eat testicles!”. I knew something wasn’t right when entire group (including the ANAM tecnico who was from the area) erupted into laughter.

What is your favorite Panamanian food?
My favorite desayuno Bocatoreño would be at the top of my list: huevos del patio with patacones and campo coffee.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *