Panama is where I decided I wanted to start my journey into Central America. The goal was to establish myself somewhere for a period of time and become a part of something where I am contributing towards making a positive impact on this World. I felt complete once I landed a business internship at Kalu Yala, a place of excitement, creativity, and sustainability.
Kalu Yala has three different locations in Panama, providing a variety of opportunity for the interns. The locations include Panama City; a hub for international banking and commerce and considered to be the most important city in Central America. San Miguel, a small village town, located on the Pacora River, one hour outside of Panama City. The last location being the Kalu Yala Valley, a 1.5-2 hour uphill hike from San Miguel into a beautiful valley in the Rainforest. The base camp in the Valley is where the Kalu Yala community will eventually be built.
Coming into this internship I was torn between wanting to be an outdoor recreation intern who lived in the Valley and pursued my passion of the outdoors or to be a business intern living in the city, pursuing my professional career.
The journey to the Valley was intense, fun, frustrating, humid, and sweaty. From crowded public transport, trying to find live chickens for sale, and eventually hiking straight up for two hours; it was all absolutely worth it to reach the most incredible place. Life in the Valley consists of sleeping in a rancho (a two story native hut, without walls, and a thick palm leaf roof), to eating the best camp food ever, by Chef Largo, showering in the swimming holes on the nearby rivers, hiking the trails into the jungle and maintaining them with machetes, building new structures in the Valley, and much more. To many, this could be too short of living without the desired luxuries of toilets, showers, beds or much privacy. But the tradeoff is that you are breathing clean, fresh air in a beautiful valley in the middle of the jungle, living sustainably, with outdoor adventure at your fingertips.
It truly is the best of both worlds when you have the opportunity to take a break from the exciting and bustling city, with all of the desired luxuries and venture into the peaceful, simple and beautiful nature of the Rainforest. I am so excited for my project this semester; keep posted for the discussion on how I will incorporate both worlds into it.