The Kalu Yala internship program has been a memorable and engaging experience after only 2 weeks. It has been a whirlwind of sights, sounds, smells, and places over the past 14 days, but also more than that – a whole new group of friends, ideas, and goals have been created in this short amount of time.
The first few days of arrival consisted of interns flying into Panama City, going out to San Miguel, then making the trek out to the valley site. We arrived in small groups and quickly got to know each other. All of us felt accomplished as we made the hike into the valley, and then cheered for the next group of people that came out. Once the whole group finally trickled in, we began orientation out in the valley. The site out there is beautiful. It is located right next to a river, and nestled in between the large green covered mountains of Panama. Everyone slept it tents, ranchos, or hammocks (until the heavy rain came, then everyone stayed in or under the ranchos). The experience forced a large group of people from all over to get to know each other and work together. After being out there for 4 days, all of the interns who were based out of San Miguel or Panama City made the hike out to finally put their bags down somewhere a little more permanent. Being in the architecture program, we have been so lucky to be staying in the beautiful apartment here in Panama City.
The bright pink building we stay in is funky and rustic, but beautiful and comfy. The Kalu Yala interns of the business and architecture programs inhabit the entire top floor of the apartment and really appreciate city life after living in the valley for a little bit. Taking a shower or doing laundry is now seen as a luxury. We lived it up the first weekend by taking a boat out Isla de Taboga. It was about a 30 minute boat ride through waters infested with large tankers making their way to the canal. It was a great way to feel small, but also to go to a beautiful island to swim and hang out on a beautiful beach all day. We were motivated to do this by the song “Vamos a la Playa” by Loona. I’m pretty sure we have listened to it over 100 times by now.
The architecture program works directly with George Moreno & Partners, a third generation and well-respected architect who has done many beautiful designs here in Panama City. We take a cab to his office every morning where we cross a bridge that goes over the entrance to the Panama Canal. Life here has been amazing, but very busy, ever-changing, and productive. Everyone here in the City as well as the entire Kalu Yala program is hard worked and dedicated, and very exciting to see we can produce in the months to come.