MPH Panama Practicum 2013: Panama, Oh Panama

Divina Palomares

July 23, 2013

The last couple of days in Panama were extremely breathtaking and full of surprises.

Our last field day was the best! After visiting a farm where there was a previous case of encephalitis, we went out into a community and observed some food and sanitation inspections AND got to fumigate! The experience was like no other. Once again, I was surprised by the lack of resources available to the inspectors and their teams. A group of three individuals cover the inspections of over 100+ establishments.

Our visit to the escuelita was such a rewarding experience. The school hosted an assembly, where the students performed and showcased all their hard work devoted to the Tolerance door decoration contest. The performances consisted of cultural dances and thank you songs. The kind words given by the staff and faculty were heart touching and only made me want to stay longer. It was heartwarming to see my fellow colleagues interact with the children and to witness firsthand the admiration of the children. They were so thankful and excited as the winners of each contest were announced.

Lastly, Friday was a heartbreaking, bitter sweet, emotional roller coaster. During our final deliverables presentation, our Vector Group leaders hosted a small farewell gathering for our group. We were able to connect, reflect and give thanks for such an amazing two weeks, full of life-changing experiences.

Although it was such a short period of time spent in Panama, the level of work we completed as a team was immense and greatly appreciated. I am beyond thankful for this endeavor and would not hesitate to help again.

About the MPH Panama Practicum

A group of University of Southern California graduate students are researching public health in Panama City, Panama, for a two-week international practicum, organized by the USC Master of Public Health (MPH) program. This post was excerpted from panama.usc.eduView all posts in this series »