Las abejas y los bomberos

Bomberos (firemen) in Panama, much like any other country have many duties.  They are called to transport a person from one of the outlying areas in the district to the local health centre, take a downed tree off the road and even put out a fire.

Earlier this year there was a report of aggressive bees that had taken to living inside on of the sewers in the unoccupied lots across from us.  Fearing that the bees were part of the spread in Panama of the African variety the bomberos were dispatched to take care of the problem.  It appears that the first eviction of the bees didn’t do the trick because a few days ago the bomberos were once again suiting up in front of our house.bees1 bees2The bees need to be controlled either at night when they return from their days journeys or on cooler, rainy days such as this one.  As I watched the bomberos go about their duties I noticed something and pointed it out to SU.  Can you guess what is odd about the way the three bomberos go about this dangerous job…in the campo?bee3bee4bee5bee6bee7bee8

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Sunday Snapshot ~ 02/08/2015

I noticed a very odd thing the other day while I was out in the front garden…
bat1 bat2SU had walked by it several times before I pointed it out to him.  It’s pretty unusual to see these little bats so low to the ground during the day…in the campo.

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Mi inspiración parte 2

As part of this week’s photo challenge participants demonstrated what inspired our photos.  My reply in my post yesterday was that all I usually had to do was to look around me.

The conclusion of yesterday’s inspiration began early this morning and took a few hours to resolve.  It did leave a bit of a mess to clean up…in the campo.

More on inspiration here.

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Mi inspiración

I can usually manage to entertain myself by observing the world around me and trying to make every day occurrences interesting enough to make the day worthwhile. Some days something as simple as a news item or a little quote that inspires me.

Lately there has been many changes on and around the calle. There is a new tiny house behind a house that people have begun living in despite there being no windows. Construction is progressing on fairly large house being built on a little tiny lot just down the road. Soon building will begin on a 12 unit apartment across the way from us.

Today there was some work being done at the top of the road that entail using a backhoe front end loader. There was some extra dirt left over from the project and once the road was filled in the drive of the large machine proceeded to deliver loads of what remained to one of our neighbours. Unfortunately at about the fourth load the driver got a bit too cocky backing down the narrow lane and slipped down the quebrada (drainage ditch). As I post this and the sun begins to set, work is still ongoing to get the massive machine out…in the campo.

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Check here for more blogging inspiration!

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Talk Thursday ~ Garbage

Libby McDonald is the Program Director of Global Sustainability Partnerships for MIT’s Community Innovators Lab (CoLab). Through independent studies and as research assistants, Libby’s students work on waste related projects in Nicaragua and Panama over spring break and during the summer months.

Work with the Kuna Yala people off the Caribbean Coast of Panama to develop approaches for waste control on islands is an active project for Libby and her students. These islands are working toward a zero waste policy, but they also have a steady stream of tourists who each bring dozens of PET water bottles, among other things.

Stick with the video, it starts off a little slow but later there is footage that demonstrates very clearly the garbage that accumulates along the shoreline of Panama and the reasons behind it.

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Wisdom Wednesday ~ 29/07/2015

As I mentioned on Monday, I’ve drunk a bit of tea lately.  My favorite is the “Yogi”brand in the Green Tea/Kombucha variety.  The side of the box demonstrates a yoga pose and each tea bag comes with a bit of inspiration attached.  It’s a clever little marketing ploy by the Oregon company that manufactures it.  Even so, it’s a lovely “pick up”to my day…in the campo.


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Our Borrowed Dog

On Saturday we woke to a beautiful blue sky morning.  Not wanting to waste the day we decided on a walk on the beach and decided to take our neighbour’s dog who is left alone for a great deal of the time. She’s a lovely girl who SU took to the sterilization clinic in April, solving our problem of having every male dog in town hanging about.

The other day I took same said borrowed dog for a walk and found two ticks clinging to her neck by her collar.  I quickly turned her around to come home and had SU help me remove them.  There’s been a great deal of trouble among the town dogs lately with Tick Fever.  The scientific name is Ehrlichisosis and the disease caused by the bite of the carrier tick.

Everyone I’ve talked to has agreed that the ticks appear worse this year and so is the tick disease.  SU and I have noted at least three poor creatures wandering our street that are suffering from it and at least one is in the end stages of succumbing to the illness.  The ticks like to hide in the high grass, weeds, and shrubs and there are several areas meeting that description around in our neighbourhood.  Several of the empty lots have not been tended to for a long time so the long grass is perfect tick territory.

SU has been very diligent about keeping our area clean and fumigated using an eco-friendly product.  We check Dos Gatos for creepy crawlies often even though cats aren’t as susceptible to ticks.  And we’ll continue to keep an eye on our borrowed dog…in the campo.

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Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. ~ Thich Nat Hanh ~

I’ve been drinking a lot of tea lately, although at times, in fact often, I’ve been having a little trouble with living in the moment. I’ve admitted that I’m experiencing what some people might call a “lack of motivation” but what I like to call “a little bump in the road”.

It may have something to do with my trip to Canada disrupting my routine.  Or the grey days in the campo that bring lots of heat and humidity but very little of the rain that we so desperately need. My bump may also stem from frustration with the irresponsibility of words said or actions/lack of actions of people. In any case, I’m acknowledging that this bump has to smooth out eventually and I’m determined that I’m going on a diet. A positive mental diet.

Part of my not so new diet is getting back to looking into my heart and finding gratitude in my day. I’m also accepting that there is an ebb and flow to life, no one person, place or thing is ever perfect. This life is both wonderful and disappointing and it’s how we react to the not so perfect aspects that builds character and compassion. After all, we all know how our story ends, only we can edit the content.

I’ve been neglecting my blog in my preoccupation, something that I truly enjoy spending time doing. I’ve also neglected reading the stories that my fellow bloggers and friends have shared. Now, I’m ready to start back at it. Thank you to all who wrote with concern wondering if all was well. Your friendship is among the many things that I am feeling grateful for…in the campo.

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You are Beautiful in Your Own Way

The Rose Family
~ Robert Frost ~

The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple’s a rose,
And the pear is, and so’s
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose —
But were always a rose.


Continue reading

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Dengue ~ The Gift that Keeps on Giving

It’s now been over five months since I contracted Dengue Fever. Although I was only really sick for about a week or two, I still a couple of lingering after effects that I thought would like to share. You know, if any of you out there happen to get Dengue Fever and if you’re like me you aren’t sure if you’re recovering “normally”.

One of the main side effects that I haven’t really shared with anyone other than my family, is severe hair loss. And they only know about it because SU was constantly finding clumps all over the house and now Mom has been finding hair all over her furniture.

Prior to leaving for my visit to Canada I talked to my girlfriend (at whose house I was staying at in Panama City), who also happens to be a trained hair dresser and aesthetician. Thank goodness she confirmed what I was experiencing was entirely normal, but even then when she was cutting my hair she was quite alarmed by the amount of hair I was losing. I’m happy to say that my hair loss has slowed down in the last few days and is no longer coming out in clumps but the loss is still higher than normal. I’m very fortunate that I have thick hair and the loss seems to be all over instead of just in certain spots.

The way my friend explained my hair loss to me made a lot of sense. Dengue doesn’t directly affect the hair follicles or cause the hair loss but the shock to my body has interrupted the normal growth cycle of my hair. She asked me a couple of questions and based on the fact that my hair loss only began in March, almost three months after my illness, it seems likely that this is the case. The way she explained it to me all hair has a growth stage and a resting stage. The growth stage lasts about 3 years and the resting stage lasts around 3 months. The resting hair remains in the follicle until it is pushed out by growth of a new growth hair. Normally, 5-15% of the hair on the scalp is usually resting. Extreme shedding is started when a stress or change causes many of the hairs to enter the resting phase all at once. Shedding does not occur until the new hair growth begin. The developing hairs force the resting hairs out of the follicle. So, it seems that it took about three months for my hair to start falling out, it’s been coming out for a couple of months now (although it has slowed) and it could take another three to six months for everything to recover. Yay me!

I’ve always been somewhat prone to cold sores but luckily in Panama I don’t need a prescription for the medication that slows their growth. With a compromised immune system I’ve been catching them more often but I always have my medication at the ready. But, silly me, I didn’t make sure that I went and bought some before I left on my trip, so, I’ve been battling with one on my nose and a small one on my lip, but they are healing. The other kind of icky skin thing I’ve been dealing with is small bumps all over my back, not really a rash and not noticeable, but there just the same. These also seem to be drying up (like the rest of my skin in the dry Alberta air) and going away slowly.

I feel very good other than those few lingering effects. I was probably fortunate that we live a fairly healthy lifestyle and I’ve tried, since my recovery to not take being healthy for granted. It’s gratifying to know that this too shall pass and I’m not a freak. I’ve learned over the years that life can change in an instant. Coming through this is another example of how not to take good health for granted, whether you’re in the campo or elsewhere.

Read more posts about Dengue Fever:


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