A Utopia in Panama?


Can you imagine paying $5000 to live an organic lifestyle? The newest trend for millennials is to pay to live for ten weeks in Panama building a sustainable town from scratch. Jimmy Stice is the young mastermind behind this town called Kala Yala (Silver, 2017). He has gotten many investors from Silicone Valley to support his interns (Silver, 2017).  However, life in this jungle is not as luxurious as it may seem.

Viceland has created a new show called “Jungletown” portraying the daily events that these interns are exposed to. Some of the interns leave the jungle and Stice claims, “they didn’t understand the vision” (Silver, 2017).  However, the Washington Post states that Stice often leaves the jungle to attend conferences and live his lavish lifestyle.  Da’Ja ‘Nay Askew traveled to Panama last year through the McMaster program and discussed her experience below. She stated,

“The rural areas in Panama differed from what I am used to seeing because there was a large gap between the rich and poor. In addition, I’m used to the modernization of the United States, and Panama is a developing country that is trying to enhance their architecture and technology. I noticed a lot of destroyed buildings. Some other living spaces where not safe.”

Similarly, this new way to live has many people questioning the underlying motives. Many wonder is Kalu Yala really a way for millennials to prove a point or is it just a money pit? With that said, when researchers asked Panamanians how they felt about this new trend they responded that it is bringing money into the city (Silver, 2017).

Written by Madysyn Creighton

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