Volunteer Guidebook

AccommodationsVolunteers stay at the Medo House, a small three-bed home beside the home of Adán’s sister and her family. It is located in the San Francisco neighborhood, only a ten-minute walk from Soloy Centro and the bus stop. Upon arrival, volunteers are asked to give $36 USD/week to cover the cost of meals.

Meals: Outside of the 3 meals a day provided at the Medo House, natural foods are also available at restaurants in town. Prices range from $1.50 to $3. Dishes typically include rice and beans, chicken, and sometimes tomatoes or cucumbers.

Water: Because Soloy’s water is not chemically treated, volunteers and visitors either 1) purchase a small bottle of Clorox (available in Soloy stores) to purify water, or 2) carry a starter supply of bottled water and later purchase water. A 19.2-Liter bottle is available in the Medo House for volunteers to bring to Soloy Centro to refill. (Each refill costs $8).

Bathing: Everyone in Soloy bathes in either the Fonseca or Soloy River. This means bathing fully clothed, carrying soap, and swimming with a bunch of kids. It’s a fun experience! Like locals, volunteers are expected to walk back to the house in wet clothes to dry off and change at home.

Dress: Volunteers are asked to dress comfortably and conservatively. Long skirts, pants, and jeans are appropriate. Please no tank tops or shorts.  Waterproof shoes like rain boots or Crocs are also recommended.

Recommended Packing List

Panama has two seasons: rainy and dry. The rainy season stretches from May to January, and the dry season from January to May. Please keep this in mind when packing!

  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Sleeping bag or blanket
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Rain gear (umbrella, jacket, rainboots)
  • Hiking boots
  • Small day backpack
  • Towel
  • A few changes of clothes (conservative tops for women; no shorts)
  • *Women: long skirt and T-shirt to wear in the river to bathe
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Spanish-English dictionary
  • Small, inexpensive gift for your host family (example: colored pencils or dish soap and sponge)
  • Cash in small bills