The time has finally come for all Fall 2012 Interns to complete their semester projects and present what they have been working on while here in Panama. It is Wednesday November 14th, and everyone is up and ready for a morning filled with fellow intern’s projects. There are suppose to be three presentations starting at 10:00 that morning. The first person to present was Whitney Warner, the second was Bertie Heritage, and the third was Team Tourism, which consisted of Lynette Andrews, Nathan Hingtgen, Alix Tingle, Lara Willis, and myself Haley Winslow.
Before all of our esteemed guests arrived we had to make sure several things were in order. The evening before we had all gotten together to set up where we would be having the presentations. We decided that with the light and space in the board room that we needed to have the presentations in the commons room; so we set up the chairs in a semi-circle, moved a table into the room that could hold the T.V. that we would be using to project our presentations, and moved the large T.V. safely into the commons room. We also thought it would be a good idea to close out some of the light that was streaming into the room so our Director luckily had enough time to go out and buy some curtains and curtain rods the next morning and our lovely English handyman Lee was able to hang them for us before presentations at 10:00. Our Director Kate also set up a wonder spread of coffee, doughnut holes, coffee cakes, and pineapple for our guests as well.
The guests showed up promptly at 10:00 and we all got a little snack and began the presentations. Although we all knew what each of the other interns had done for the semester it was really interesting to see how hard everyone had worked throughout the time we had been here in Panama. Whitney started it off with a bang; discussing all of the activities she had worked on while staying in the Kalu Yala Valley as an agricultural intern, as well as her time spent in San Miguel as the Director of the soccer program for the school children of the town. Her picture presentation was set up in a good way that really illustrated what she had done throughout the semester, and was good because it had limited text and we got to see progress that had occurred in the Valley base camp. Whitney had come as a Business Intern, but after going to the Kalu Yala Valley she knew that she wanted to stay and help at base camp. Although she came into the agricultural program with no prior knowledge of how to grow fruits and vegetables in the Valley, she came out of the program an experienced farmer. She was very knowledgeable and confident in her presentations as well as her responses to questions.
Next was Bertie, and he wanted his presentation to be a surprise. No one really had a solid idea about what Bertie had been doing all semester, so to finally see what he had been working on was very interesting. He showed up for his presentation in traditional “English Gentleman style” as he called it, with his white wrinkled long sleeve button down, and no shoes. Bertie is quite a character. Anyway we all knew Bertie had been working on a project regarding potential real estate investments in Casco Viejo but that is all we knew. His presentation started off with a historical overview of the city of Panama, which led us to the current day Casco Viejo. After the history of Casco and the City of Panama, Bertie discussed the architectural aspects of the buildings in Casco. He also spoke on the current real estate market in the area discussing both the refurbished as well as the old and run down building price tags. Following the discussion of real estate, Bertie spoke on the future face of Casco Viejo; discussing how up to 80% of the buildings would be refurbished within the next 5-10 years, as well as the construction of the new highway that is currently being put in around the Casco Viejo seawall. Although it was not exactly what we were expecting from Bertie, he came out with a strong project that really gave us all good insight into what Casco Viejo use to be, what it is now, and what it will be in the future. Job well done Bertie!
Now it was time for Team Tourism to present. The three people who presented were Lara, Nathan, and myself. Instead of the traditional PowerPoint presentation style we choose to present our company with a Prezi. I began by introducing our group and our project which was a tourism company by the name of Jungle Adventures by Kalu Yala. In our presentation we discussed our business and marketing plans, our financial start-up costs and forecasting models, as well as our plans for the future of the company. Our presentation lasted a total of 40 minutes due to the vast amount of information we had to discuss. We feel our company Jungle Adventures by Kalu Yala, as well as our presentation went very well and we received a lot of positive feedback from our guests. They felt we had a great product and were yearning to know more about it.
Following the presentations we all joined in the board room to have lunch. Linda, our cook, had prepared for us a Panamanian dish of vegetables, raisins and chicken rice along with a side of freshly sliced tomatoes and onions. Over lunch we all discussed what we were going to be doing following our return home from Panama and thanked our guests for joining us. Before everyone left one of the guests, and an investor for Kalu Yala, Henrick asked Team Tourism if he could have a moment with us to discuss a potential business venture he had been interested in. Of course we all agreed so we went into the commons room and chatted for about thirty minutes. He told us about how he wanted to build a stone house up at the top of one of his waterfalls close to the Kalu Yala Valley and how he wanted to utilize our tour company to bring people to it. He feels sustainable tourism is a venture he would like to invest in and one that will protect his land and the wildlife that lives on his property. After hearing his idea and thinking about how we could potentially work that into our tourism company we thanked him for his time and began getting ready for the evening ahead of us. By now it was 2:15 and a few of us interns as well as our Director were going to the Panama vs. Spain soccer game. We all got ready and off we went thankful that our internship was complete and we had successfully executed our presentations. Already it had been a long day, but we were ready and excited to see some of the best soccer players in the world play right in front of our eyes. It was an amazing end to a very worthwhile internship! I feel we all came out of the internship knowing a lot more than we came in with. We had learned new things and explored new places. It was an experience to tell about.