Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

For the last six days we have had the pleasure of being a part of and assisting in the doctoral research of a student from Florida.

Heather is a professor in music history from Florida State University. Her doctoral thesis is related to the “Danza de Moros y Cristianos”.

In Heather’s initial research phase, she had found that in Bugabita, right here in Chiriquí, a festival has been going on for over a hundred years. The last festival was in 2012. During one of the interviews the time frame was identified as one hundred and fifty years. Amazing and I bet this is the first time you are hearing about it.

Heather decided she wanted to come to Panama and see if she could gather enough information to provide justification to be awarded a grant which would allow her to return to Chiriquí and do a more thorough study.

Googling this area of Panama led her to Chiriquí Chatter. She then contacted me to see if I would be able to help her find accommodations and, if interested, perhaps I could assist her in her initial investigation.

Of course the project really got my attention. I had no idea that this festival even existed. I told her that not only would I be happy to help, but she could stay with us and I would act as her chauffeur.

Prior to her getting here, I did my own research to see if I could find some initial contacts to speed up her task and make her short time more productive.

In another post, I will provide more information on our activities over the last week. Here I will only say that we were very successful. Several people should be thanked for helping me to help Heather.

Let me identify some that need to get special credit.

Lucila Molina – I had met Señorita Lucy many years ago, She has Viajes Crisol and literally knows everyone in Chiriquí. I stopped in to see her a couple weeks ago and told her about the project I was supporting and asked for her guidance.

She pulled out her phone directory and immediately started making phone calls. She gave me three people to contact.

Antonio Singh – I contacted Antonio and he also said he would contact some people and get back with me. He did and his contacts started overlapping the names I already had. A very good sign as it told me I was on the right track.

James Johnston – I had met James several years ago. He is a music teacher in Bugaba and you may remember him because of his group ARCOIRIS. I emailed him and he also helped orient my direction.

Natalie Staff – Natalie is Lilliam’s daughter and has just returned from Shanghai. I asked if she could act as a translator for Heather, when we went to interview the people. She was happy to do that and I have to say that she did an excellent job in supporting the project.

I will leave the specific people that were interviewed and what was accomplished for another post. As I said before, I will just state that, in my opinion, we were very successful in meeting Heather’s objectives.

Unfortunately, today is Heather’s last full day in Panama. She departs for Florida in the morning. Getting to know Heather and working with her on this project has been one of the highlights of my time here in Panama.

She is such a delightful young lady. So dedicated, so intelligent, and what a great representative for the USA and her university. We will definitely miss her smiling face and effervescent attitude toward life.

The good news is that with a successful presentation, based on information gathered during this trip, she will return later this year for a more thorough study. How exciting. This is also great news for Panama. This is an important piece of Panama’s history that is teetering on the edge of being forgotten.

My hope is that this will bolster the awareness of documenting and recording more of Panama’s lessor known history for future generations. To have possibly been a part of this effort is extremely rewarding for me.

So Heather, we truly are sad to see you go. We thank you for allowing us to share in your research and to play a small role. We look forward to your return.

8 thoughts on “Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

  1. she will find a lot more about this danza in Los santos and Las tablas. the santeno and tablenos who moved to chiriquit brought some of their traditions and folklore here.

  2. I wish we had been there during Heather’s visit. My sis was emailing approvals on her student teachers that she coaches and we met a lady from the Balboa Academy who is coming to Missouri for a month long class in support of her PhD.
    Best of luck to Heather and looking forward to her research.

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