English teaching:

One of the main projects of medo is organizing English classes for adults and children. We have a current need for a volunteer who can make a long term commitment to the project and teach English for at least 3 months. We are also interested in recruiting a volunteer to develop a year long cirriculm. We have had many great teachers, and are quite proud of our intermediate students. If you come as an English teacher, you will have beginner and intermediate level students. Long term volunteers have quite a lot of flexibility in cirriculm and scheduling.

Health and Clinic assistance:

We routinely host volunteers who are interested in helping at the health center. The health center of Soloy is always understaffed and understocked. This means that patients have to wait long hours before recieving care. We welcome volunteers who have some medical schooling or experience and speak Spanish to volunteer in the clinic. Also, medical supplies are always a welcome donation.

It is equally important to prevent sickness as it is to treat it. For this reason, we have launched a number of public health initiatives. We would like to thank medo volunteer Amanda Gabster for taking on the latrine project and infusing it with her enthusiasm and leadership.

Amanda also recently won a $10,000 grant for the building of a water quality lab in Soloy. This can have an enormous impact on public health. Thanks, and congratulations to Amanda!

In 2006, thanks to the efforts of volunteer Marie-Rose Shoucri we designed a health course for primary and high school levels of the local public school. This course was developed in collaboration with the health workers of the Soloy clinic and the Joaquina H. de Torrijos school. It also received contributions from 12 SAMA and IFMSA medical volunteers from Montreal and Sherbrooke, Canada. We are currently interested in a volunteer who would like to coordinate the health course for this year. This would require an interest in health, ability to communicate in Spanish and a committment of at least 3 months during the Panamanian school year (February to November).

We are also supporting the work of different volunteer traditional health agents. In the past, volunteers have assisted with patient care and registry. With these agents we have also developed seminars in natural home remedies to serve the community.

It is a long term goal of Medo to help a local traditional healer become well established in an independent clinic of her own. She is currently working in the lawn of the health center, with just a wood stove. Her home is a 2 hour walk up a mountain, so she often stays at the health center, and sleeps outside without even a bed. There is a great need for her to have access to better resources in order to better service the people of the community. Ideally, we would like to build a clinic for her and traditional healers, with a space to grow medicinal plants, a gas stove, and a place for her to sleep and attend patients. A volunteer interested in this project could help develop this traditional medicine clinic, by fundraising (writing grants or other forms of fundraising) and coordinating the construction of the traditonal clinic. Such a volunteer should be able to communicate Spanish. This project would require a long term commitment and could be combined with other projects.

Merire Ngobe-Fabric Art Accessories

Merire Ngobe means "Ngobe Women" and is the "brand" of a line of fabric accessories that constitutes a joint Medo-Red de Mujeres de Besiko (RMB) fundraiser and income project. The women are paid a fair wage for their work, Medo and RMB get funds for projects, and the people of the USA and Canada can enjoy the lovely colorful Ngobe patterns.

Botanical Garden:

Plino Bejerano is the coordinator of this project. He collects orchids and other plants native to the area and is building a botanical garden to educate the community. A vounteer could help collect and care for orchids and build the garden. Additionally, we're looking for a webmaster for the garden website. Over the past year, the garden has developed beatifully. It now hosts a collection of about 40 different native orchid species. There is a lovely walking path through a garden of native plants. Special thanks to the JICA volunteers for providing assistance and materials.

There is still much work that needs to be done! Equipment needed by the garden include a solar panel and plaques that identify plant species.


Environmental Projects:

In addition to the botanical garden, we have numerous other environmentally related projects that we'd like some help with. One major environmenal issue in the Comarca is the lack of waste disposal facilities. We have a project to promote the use of LED flashlights, as LED flashlights are much more efficient than incandescent and therefore reduce the number of batteries thrown away, while simultaneously saving families a lot of money in battery expenses. We are also interested in promoting phosphate-free soap, as most of the soaps currently used by community members contain phosphates. This is a problem since washing of clothes is done directly in the river, so phosphate is a source of pollution. Since people depend upon the river for fish, minimizing river pollution increases people's access to healthy food. Also, there are about 80 nonfunctioning solar panel systems in the community, that we'd like some help with in getting them repaired and setting up a sustainable form of maintaining them. Another major environmental concern at the moment is the construction of a mine close to Soloy. Although almost everyone in the community is against the mine, there is great pressure on the local authorities to authorize the mine's construction- from the Panamanian government and the Canadian company that wants to build the mine. Therefore, we would like help in fighting against the mine and preserving our land for sustainable livilihoods. Volunteers interested in environmental projects should be able to communicate in Spanish.

Children's Project:

The children of the area face many problems. Please read the page dedicated to this project for more details. The dream is to have a volunteer come and coordinate activities and English classes for children, and to work with the school and children, many of whom commute hours on foot to go to school.

We are interested in recruiting a volunteer who would like to work with kids who live in a "boarding house": about 20 schoolkids live without their families (and just 1 adult supervising) near the school, because their families live too far away for them to commute. The volunteer would give tutoring sessions- they are especially interested in recieving help in English, math, and science, and also orgainizing activities such as sports. Their ages range from 9 to 17.

This August, a group of Girl Scouts are coming from Montreal to work with underserved kids. They will be organizing sports, tutoring and arts and crafts.


medo organizes visits to the community. Also see the visit page for details. We need a volunteer to help develop this project, as it is in its very first stages.

Artisan Assistance

The objective of Medo's artisan project it to empower local artisans to market their own goods for fair prices. This will include seminars on marketing, pricing, and English for artisans; in addition, Medo will act directly to help market artisan products.


created by anna zaniewski for medo 2007