Back in March of 2007, I took a trip to the Chiriquí Grande area to have a look at some construction work that the US Army was doing in Panama. Today as I was searching for something on the Internet, I stumbled on some videos that were made on a subsequent project of the Army.
The videos are pretty good. They give you an idea of the difficult life that many people in Panama face. And yet, when you see the smiling faces of all the young Panamanians, you realize that it doesn’t take much to make children happy.
Many American’s move to Panama, hoping to find paradise for themselves, without ever thinking about how they might possibly help their new found neighbors. I have a good friend that used to live in Boquete and while he was there, he got involved with a small Indian school. He went every day and made himself useful. He painted. He bought bags of rice and vegetables to help the children have a meal while they were at school. He simply gave of himself.
He didn’t throw money at problems hoping that it would be spent well. He didn’t try to advise the school system on how to make it better. He did it on his own, not wanting any recognition for what he was doing. He just did what was in his power and small budget, but he made a difference.
Many of the children he helped were just like the ones in these videos. His reward was similar to the reward that I am sure each of the army personnel felt by spending time in Panama on this 4 month project.
Here are a series of 8 videos that were taken during that four month project.
The Living In Potrerillos blog has a video of Allison Staff, who is the 11 year old young lady from Chiriquí, that won the national singing competition in Panama City. If you missed getting to see here perform, as I did, this will provide a small substitute.
Recent posts, in the same blog, have other videos that you should find of interest as well.
My grandson Noah’s football season ended yesterday. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to watch the game this morning. Noah’s team is called the Lions and based on the season they had, you could hear the Lions roar all the way to Panama.
One of the difficult things, for a grandfather, is not being close enough to the grandkids to be a part of their lives. I would love to go to their sports events or band events or even to go on a picnic.
However, living as far away as Panama prevents that. Fortunately the Internet helps to lessen a few of those problems. Yesterday morning I was chatting with my granddaughter, Megan. I had noticed my son’s messenger id come on line and I asked what he was doing up so early on a Saturday. Then I found out it was Megan that was on the PC.
I was amazed how well she did in her writing. For a 7 year old, Megan is a very bright little girl.
Then this morning, my daughter sent me a link to a site of a parent that takes videos of my grandson Noah’s football games. Noah had a game on May 3rd. If my memory serves me, Noah is 11 with a birthday coming up in July. My daughter hadn’t gotten to go to Noah’s game because she was at her daughter Kayley’s volleyball game.
My daughter is going to have to watch Noah’s game just to see the following play. In the following photo (which I pulled out of the video), you will see Noah (in blue) running for a touchdown. He had taken the ball at the line of scrimmage and broke a tackle and managed to avoid all the rest of the defenders for a touchdown.
While watching a video, isn’t as good as being there, it certainly helps fill a void. Way to go Noah. That was quite a run!
It appears that Sofia’s virus has returned. It has been seven days since out last trip to the hospital and we are getting ready to return. She has been fine for at least 5 days.
I heard that four children in Bocas had died from what sounds like a similar virus. Vomiting, diarrhea.
If you are in this area, this seems to be something that is going around and should not be taken lightly. Don’t try to cure it with home remedies, go to a doctor (they are cheap).
I had it and it is no fun.
UPDATE: I am about to come to the conclusion that there was really nothing wrong yesterday with Sofia. Her mother was planing on going to Costa Rica yesterday and had told her the night before. Sofia did not want her to go and kept telling her not to go.
I am beginning to think that this child realized if she appeared sick, then her mother would not go. When the doctor saw her and examined her stomach, he said he could find no indication that she had anything. Magically she was well upon returning home. Hmmmmmm.
Retirement in Panama has provided me the time to sit back and observe the everyday things in life more than I ever did when I was in the corporate rat race. The Internet is a wonderful thing for those who have a little time on their hands and want to learn something or want to try their hand at writing.
I think I have mentioned before that I started blogging out of a need to let my kids see that a third world country hadn’t gobbled me up and locked me away somewhere. Now, it is also providing me feedback on my daughter’s life and the experiences she is having.
Her latest blog post had me just about wetting my pants. And I am not old enough for that to be a daily problem. It seems that she is now getting to teach her oldest, Kayley, to drive. That is Kayley to the left with her new driving permission certificate. I remember teaching Kimberly and wondering if it is possible to buy a Sherman tank so she wouldn’t get hurt. To see Kimberly’s experiences with Kayley, click HERE.
If my son ever gets up enough nerve to write a blog, then some more daily adventures would unfold.
Reading my friend Peter’s new blog, is another experience that I am enjoying. His blog could easily turn into a novel one day. I think that many of us have stories that would be interesting to our children or others, if we would just tell them.
If I were as good a writer as Peter, I might take a crack at that type of blog one day. It is something to consider.
Yesterday, I went with Dr. Sussan and her daughter, Sofia, to visit friends at Optica Lopez. Dr Sussan used to be the doctor you would see, if you went to have your vision checked. It was on one such a visit, that I got to meet this group of young ladies, excluding Martha.
Optica Lopez was the last of the optical stores that I visited in David. It was also the first one I went into that I wasn’t treated like a gringo with extra money to spend. I use bifocals, and all of the other optical shops tried to convince me to purchase the more expensive “progressive” lenses. When I went to Optica Lopez, they asked which I preferred.
That first visit started a great set of friendships for me.