About Medo

Medo is a not-for-profit grassroots organization based in the indigenous community of Soloy, District of Besiko, Ngobe-Bugle Comarca, Panama.

Medo aims to promote sustainable development in the Besiko District by connecting volunteers with the community to work with educational, environmental, health, tourism, and cultural programs.

Adán Bejerano founded Medo in 2005 to incite intercultural dialogue between the Comarca people and international volunteers. From its onset, Medo connected community members with volunteers from Canada, the U.S., and Europe. Initial projects addressed health issues in Soloy: including a water lab and the construction of 50 latrines.

In 2008, Medo faced setbacks. A disastrous flood destroyed many homes, and Soloy lost loved ones. Today, we are working to rebuild Medo by connecting locals with volunteers to collaborate on projects.

Medo is small and not yet officially recognized. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own perspective and ideas to our existing projects.

About our founder

“I was fortunate to win a leadership scholarship in 1999 which enabled me to attended Mount Hood Community College MHCC in Portland, Oregon, where I studied Integrated Natural Resources Technology. The essential part of the program in Oregon was not only the time spent there, but the emphasis on returning home to Panama. After I returned home, I introduced a small grassroots organization called Medo with the assistance of the first volunteers: Anna Zaniewski from the United States and “Maria” Marie-Rose Shoucri from Canada. Due to my unique upbringing in an indigenous community, I realize the importance of maintaining our lifestyle while sharing our culture and advancing education.” — Adán Bejerano

What does Medo mean?

The name Medo comes from a Ngäbe legend:

In Cerro Otoe there is a lagoon that in ancient times was inhabited by a dragon. The dragon had the strength to move the earth and raise the waters in a gigantic wave. The people who passed by there heard his roar and trembled in fear.

Then there came to the region a man named Medo from an island of Bocas del Toro. He established himself in the land. He was wise and possessed supernatural powers, and inspired so much confidence in the people that they trusted him to protect them from harm. With his powers he decided to confront the dragon. And so he made it rain for four days and four nights with intense thunder and lightening that illuminated the dragon’s lake. This frightened away the dragon and freed the people from the lurking evil.

Medo and the Dragon was created by Out of the Convent at University of California, Berkeley in 2007, as part of Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival.