Snapshot Sunday ~ 14/09/2014

Wet Season has finally arrived in full force although it is just slightly overcast today. We’ve also had no electricity for a few hours…

Happy Sunday from the campo!Rain

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Little People of Humanity

Adults are obsolete children. ~ Dr. Seuss ~

Children are among my favorite subjects to photograph. They lack guile, don’t usually worry about if their hair is messy or even if you’ve caught them picking their nose.

Taking photographs of people in Panama is quite easy and children learn at a young age if they are photographed they are to put a smile on their face and pose.  My favorite photos are the ones that I get without the knowledge of the subject but the posed ones are pretty special too.  Here are some children of the campo…members of humanity.

See more of the Weekly Photo Challenge!
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TED Talk Thursday ~ Not in His Father’s Footsteps

I believe empathy is more powerful than hate, and our lives should be dedicated to making it go viral. ~ Zak Ebrahim ~ 

I came to today’s TED Talk looking for a video by another person but after watching this Talk decided that this was an inspirational talk to share.  Let’s face it, the world is in a bit of a scary mess these days.   We’re hearing stories of young people in North America and Europe being radicalized  and joining groups to fight in wars far from their homelands.  President Obama took to the television last night to talk about how the effort is increasing to ” degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy “.  And then I found this video.

Zak Ebrahim was born in Pennsylvania to an Egyptian industrial engineer and an American school teacher. When Ebrahim was seven, his father shot and killed the founder of the Jewish Defense League, Rabbi Meir Kahane. From prison his father, El-Sayed Nosair, co-masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Ebrahim spent the rest of his childhood moving from city to city, hiding his true identity from those who knew of his father. In this video he speaks of how being the new kid in every school he attended made him feel like an outsider; one of the main reasons that people become radicalized.

Zak’s statement about how much negative energy it takes to hold hatred inside should give us all pause.  Let’s all try to spread a little kindness today.




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At the Church…

In Panama most of the towns and villages are centered around a square or Parque Central.  Usually the most prominent structure in the park, actually the center of the town is the Catholic church.

Here are some photos of Santa Catalina Catholic Church the church central in Pedasi:

Santa Catalina Church Pedasi


Last week there was a commotion in the square because the beautiful palm trees were being cut down.  To call it a commotion is actually to put it mildly.  There was an uproar because the beautiful trees were being destroyed.

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There is no sure way of disseminating news in a small town like ours.  The only newspaper we have is distributed monthly and the daily papers are all from Panama City and contain very little local news.   Often news spreads somewhat like the children’s game “Telephone”.  Remember?  You sit in a circle and whisper a word in your neighbour’s ear and by the time it gets to the end of the circle the word is nothing like when it started.

When the facts finally emerged that the almost 100-year-old trees were rotting on the inside the furor died down.  Those beautiful palms most certainly would have come down on their own eventually in one of the big wind storms that we get during Wet Season.  An order was issued from SINAPROC and with the cooperation of the Office of the Alcalde (the Mayor) and other civil protection agencies the trees were cut before they could fall on the church, a pedestrian or a car parked in front.

In the coming weeks other trees will be planted to once again grow for generations to come.  But for now our Parque Central is looking a little bare…in the campo.

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We Live Here

During the time we’ve lived in Panama we’ve met or I’ve corresponded with many other people who have either made the move here or are considering moving here.  People leave their home country for too many reasons to go into.  Many of those reasons are deeply personal and some are practical.  Many leave their home country expecting to transplant themselves to Panama and not change the way they think, feel or live.  Some will integrate into their surroundings living frugally among villagers in a small town or the countryside and others will set themselves up in a hill-top home, a high-rise apartment or in a gated community and rarely interact with others who are unlike themselves.  Neither way is right nor wrong, just different and I like to think that we’ve managed to find an even balance between the two lifestyles.

I’ve run into a few people who think that life in Panama is one big vacation with a party every night.  It’s not normally like that in the real world or if you are really living in Panama because:

We don’t go “out” every night and every day is not one big drinking party that begins at noon because…we live here;

We take pride in working in and around our home ourselves but we know enough to ask or hire some extra hands when we need them because…we live here;

We have the time to do the things we never had time to do when we were working and have discovered new hobbies because…we live here;

We keep up with local and national news that may affect us or our neighbours, not to criticize and compare but because…we live here;

We’ll probably never be fluent Spanish speakers but we manage and we are learning more as we continue lessons every week because…we live here;

We are trying to help improve our community because…we live here;

We frequent local businesses when possible because…we live here;

We don’t ask for a discount from the local restaurants or small businesses because we know that it decreases their revenue and because…we live here;

We try to practice patience and kindness with the people we interact with because…we live here;

We take part in local and community events when we can because…we live here;

We’ve gotten used to the spontaneous fireworks and tolerate the loud music, the roosters crowing and the dogs barking because…we live here;

We expect an electricity “bump” or two during a rainstorm and frequent power outages during Dry Season because…we live here;

We’ve adjusted to the heat, the humidity during Wet Season, the dust during Dry Season, bugs, spiders, snakes etc. because…we live here;

We’ve met many kind, giving, talented people because…we live here; and

We can watch and still be in awe of a beautiful sunrise, the birds flying home at twilight, a crab on the beach, the crash of the ocean waves, the sight of a whale spouting, the greenness of the hills and trees….because… we’re not on vacation, we live here.

Birds at sunrise

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Snapshot Sunday ~ 07/09/2014

Bandit found this harmless little Red Backed Coffee Snake curled up in the garden yesterday morning.  Isn’t it pretty? ¡Discuple Mama!

Coffee Snake


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Unknown Territory

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. ~ Jawaharlal Nehru ~

We moved from Canada to Panama almost two and a half years ago.  When we first arrived almost every day was an adventure.  Many of the mundane things that we take for granted in North America are often excursions into the unknown in Panama.

Now that we have been here a while, not everything that is an adventure is hazardous or exciting but it is usually what we would call “interesting”.  We learned early on that we needed to adjust to Panama; Panama was not going to adjust to us.  When we embark on an adventure we do it with less trepidation and mucho más paciencia.  Like they say on the Starship Enterprise we’ve been forced to “Boldly go where no man has gone before.”  Admittedly that is stretching the truth a bit, we have been lucky enough to occasionally rely on the knowledge and adventures of those who have gone before us.

Moving to the campo of Panama to embark on this adventure and leaving the familiar behind us was a leap of faith, something like this mural in Casco Viejo.

leap 2 leap 3 leap

 Wait!  There’s more adventures awaiting you!
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In the Twilight Hours

A couple of evenings ago SU and I were wrapping up our nightly observation of critters in the campo and gathering our things to go inside when I noticed a somewhat large critter making a new home in the palm in front of the porch.

We watched for several minutes as a huge spider spun its enormous web.  SU was concerned that it might be a Brown Widow Spider and kept on asking me to take a look at its tummy for an hourglass. Having just seen a brown mark that didn’t look like an hourglass I’m still not sure what kind of spider it is however; I managed to grab the camera and take some pictures of the very pretty arachnid.  I used a slower F-stop and I rather like blur that shows our friend in motion.

If there are any spider aficionados out there feel free to identify our pal.  I was hoping to get some better pictures in the early morning sunlight the following day.  To my disappointment our guest vacated the premises sometime during the night and there was very little remaining of the beautiful web it was making.  Perhaps one of our bat buddies swept by in the night for a spider feast …in the campo.5

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TED Talk Thursday ~Harvest Time

Yesterday SU and I ran into Las Tablas for a few items most notably fresh fruit and vegetables for our salads and morning smoothies.  On the way home we stopped in Santo Domingo at what I call the “Pineapple Dude” and bought two large, juicy pineapples for a few dollars.  When I got home and unpacked everything I wished I had purchased a papaya and a watermelon even though the refrigerator couldn’t have held much more with the bags of six beets, six guayaba, carrots and other such fresh food.  SU cut down our papaya trees while I was in Canada and I miss them although we have some more started it while take some time before they grow and produce.  We’ve also decided that pineapples take up too much space for the time they take to grow, but we still have bananas and our second bunch in a month will be ready soon.

Many of my friends and family are picking the bounty from their gardens in Canada as it is time to harvest before the first frost arrives to kill everything.  Some will be pickling and baking I know at least one friend whose garden has been so good this year she’ll be donating some of her produce to the local food bank.  I’ve been reading about the urban gardening movement in Edmonton and some groups have grown food for profit.  Reclaim Urban Farm has 15 sites totaling about one-fifth of a hectare on borrowed land, mostly vacant lots in the city.

Today’s TED Talk by Ashley Atkinson is actually at TEDMED Talk from last year.  Detroit has gone through a major decline in recent years. The car industry has suffered from worldwide competition and much of the remaining production has been moved out of Detroit, which now has some of the highest crime rates in the US. The city filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in US history last year. In this Talk Ms. Atkinson speaks about how groups in Detroit are trying to promote a food independent city where the majority of produce that its residents eat is grown within the city’s limits.

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Awesome Saturday for Los Animales!!!

I’ve posted about the Spay and Neuter group that has been formed in our community several times, I’ll post the links below if any of you would like to check them out.  The formal name is Animal Advocates of Pedasi/Defensores de los Animales de Pedasi and we even have a cool logo, created by Connie’s esposo Mikkel.

Animal Advocates Jpeg

Connie graciously took over as Chief Slave Driver President a little while ago and our little group has the wonderful good fortune to have grown in the last few months.  You can find Connie’s posting about the last spay clinic that took place while I was in Canada here.

Yesterday our merry band of volunteers held a patio sale and marketplace in the cancha (basketball court) to raise some funding to help subsidize the work we’re trying to do and bring awareness to the community of who we are.  The funds we raise help to subsidize the sterilization of some of the local pets and pay for a monthly advertisement in our local paper.  Some of the local artisans were invited to the market for a low $5.00 per spot.  We were a little worried that we hadn’t gotten the word out but our fears were laid to rest when we arrived to set up just before 7:00 am and there were already people waiting.   We had some really great “stuff” to sell, household goods and clothing practically sold themselves and one of the stranger items that we sold were a pair of skis; snow skies.  Rumour has it that there is a crazy pair of Canucks that are going to use them on the beach.

It was a long, rewarding day monetarily for our group and hopefully for the other vendors but it also feels good to be raising awareness about animal care and control in our community.  I’m sure Connie will be writing a post of her own about the event but I’d like to put my thanks forward to all who helped with set up and tear down, donated items for sale, gave of their time, Buena Vida Language School  and Casa Lajajagua who both came forward with raffle prizes, and all the vendors who spent the day with us.   And to the community, gracias a todos, even if you only spent 10¢ it’s still 10¢ more than we had on Friday to help an animal in our district…in the campo.

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 More about our group…
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