Sunday, February 27, 2011

La vida en David

It is now Sunday and it is the first time I have been able to get to an internet cafe since coming to David. The trip up here from Panama City took 13 hours (usually 6) because of several roadblocks from the natives that are being affected by a possible copper mine that is being developed in their territory. So it was a hot, but very interesting trip. There were 8 of us in a minivan with the luggage on the roof. Our feet were on other bags and large melons we had bought. By the time we arrived it was pitch black. I was dropped off at the house where the family was abuela Isabella (grandmother), los niños Eduardo and Alanis (the children) and the father Alan and mother Melitza. Plus 2 scrawny dogs outside and a cat inside. My meal was some little corn meal patties and a small portion of fried beef. But the welcome was genuine and I have been very well cared for. The kids are  delightful and of course I am speaking a lot of Spanish. My head is so full of verbs and new words that i have trouble shutting off my brain at night.
The last few days have been a blur. I walked in the mountains nearby with another woman yesterday and was very happy to get outside and do some exercize. I spend the evenings at home and the children love the attention, the coloring and the old books that I brought to read to them. School starts tomorrow after the summer break so Alanis will be going into grade one. She corrects my mistakes in spanish.
I will be volunteering at a nutrition rehab center for children 1to 5. They are mostly natives and their situation seems pretty grave. That starts tomorrow. I take the bus at 7am.
I have given up on gourmet food for a while as the meals are very simple (last night mashed potatoes and fried slice of ham) and food quite costly. I know all that is waiting for me at home! There is an avocado tree and a mango tree in the yard so we will be eating them soon. That is why I came and I am savoring everything. Today as I walked here to explore the area, I passed a large marching band of teenagers practicing in the field. And last night the neighbours had a fiesta with loud music and fireworks late into the night. What an experience.

Hasta luego. I will try to send pictures next time once I am used to this computer.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ciudad de Panama

Today is Tuesday, February 22, 2011. In Panama  City it is very hot and humid under a partly cloudy sky. This is a huge metropolis and the American influence is felst everywhere, although it is important to be able to speak Spanish in most places. The amercans took over the buidling of the canal in about 1907, after the French failed  and left it bankrupt. They were disseminated with yellow fever and malaria and many died. The canal was finally finished in 1914 and in 2014 new excavations will make it much bigger for much bigger ships. Many of them are the enormous cruise ships that are now navigating the oceans (floating cities). In 1977 after much hardship and many deaths, Jimmy Carter agreed to give the canal to the Panamanians and in 1999 they took full control. It is huge, extending for 80 km. from Pacific to Atlantic Ocean.
We spend another day tomorrow visiting old Panama and then elave for David on Wednesday, traveling by van for about 6 hours. The roads here are in better shape than Costa Rica, another thing left by the US and the United Fruit Company.

I am attaching some photos of our group and the canal

Monday, February 21, 2011

llegando en Panama


Soy en la ciudad de Panama en el hotel Agua y Miel. Muy bonita casa con habitiationes muy confortables.
I arrived at 14:30 after a very comfortable flight non-stop to Panama City. They actually provide a full meal on Canjet which is certainly a luxury these days. They even give a glass of bubbly wine before arrival which I passed on after my bad experience of fainting when en route to Barcelona last year. So it was an uneventful flight, although we were packed in like sardines. The airport in Panama is surprisingly small. I guess much of the international business is by land or sea. WE are in the same time zone as Montreal so it is now 20:10.
We have met our guide who works with the Fundacion Nicole Lepage here in Panama. Everyone is very friendly and anxious to make us feel at home. The foundation works with the the Native community north of DAvid (La Comarca) and much of the money from our group goes to that community. I will know more about the community and the projects there such as setting up schools and work projects, later in the month.
Tomorrow we visit the canal and museum attached. The history of the area is very interesting. We may have to travel by night to David, to avoid the planned demonstrations on route, the population demonstrating against the development on a huge copper mine that will be devastating to the native populations living in the area. More and more the population is becoming more environmentally conscious and trying to protect their resource. We will be here until Wednesday ant then decide.
So lots to discover. It is about 30 degrees here now but there is a nice breeze. Apparently in David, the town where I will be staying, it gets to about 35 degrees.
Take care !


Sunday, February 20, 2011


Tomorrow at 4am I will be up and off the the airport to be there by 05:30. Bags are packed, lists left for Pierre and farewells said. My next blog will hopefully be from Panama City (Ciudad de Panama) where we arrive at 14:30 tomorrow.


Friday, February 18, 2011

retirement day

February 18, 2011. The day I chose to officially retire from Batshaw. Although I remain en employee until April 1, 2011, I have taken advantage of vacations, retention days, etc etc to leave early and head for Panama. And anyway, I can always go back on the recall list if I want.
Emptying my little corner of the office was not easy. In fact I think my colleagues thought I would never leave, it took so long. But I have let go, leaving little bits of my 9 years there, hoping that others will benefit from books, articles, pens, etc. I even left an old doll that I had used with the kids.
Last work out a the gym was a killer in my honour. That is the thing I will miss the most, easy acess to a gym with a great trainer and lots of laughs. The transition to a community gym will take a while.
Y ahora, vamos a Panama. Hasta luego.


PS. These are my old (heavy ) binoculars. I used them in Costa Rica to look at quetzals when we were at Finca Eddy in the mountains (Cerra de la Muerte).  But in Panama I will appreciate the new light weight Pentax binoculars that my friends at Batshaw gave me. Muchas gracias. Merci beaucoup tout le monde qui a contribué à ce cadeau si généreux. Je vous aime tous.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Souper d'adieu

Hola mis amigos/as.  Bonjour mes amies/s. HELLO EVERYONE

Tonight was the farewell dinner with my Batshaw colleagues and friends. What a great ride it has been for almost 9 years; learning and working as a nurse in child welfare has been a wonderful end-of-careerexperience. I am truly ready for new adventures but feel privileged to have worked with such dedicated professionals there. Thanks to all of you who came tonight, even though you had a long drive to get there.

I am now fully equipped for a jungle adventure. Tilley hat (from MCH friends) and now small and powerful binoculars(from Batshaw colleagues) to help me see those tiny birds and butterflies as they flit around. I just have to figure out how the binoculars work. At my first attempt I left the protective caps on, so I have lots of work to do before I leave if I want to use these things properly. I may look a little like Tin Tin with my hat, binoculars and safari shorts but I should blend well with the foliage! I will make sure to send you a picture of me in this outfit, if I can figure out how the camera works without Pierre to coach me. 

Mon cadeau de départ complète ma trousse d'aventure..jumelles pour aller avec mon chapeau Tilley! Je suis donc prête pour une randonnée dans la jungle...pilules contre la malaria, piqûre contre la fièvre jaune, typhoide, vaccin oral contre le E-Coli  etc, etc. On dirait que je pars pour l'Amazonie, mais vaut mieux être prévoyant! J'aurai possiblement l'air de TinTin mais  je serai confortable.

Il me reste 2 jours de travail officiel et 5 jours avant le départ pour Panama. J'ai hâte!

So it`s down to the wire, 2 more days of offiical work left and 5 more until I leave for Ciudad de Panama (Panama City).
If you are wondering how I plan on keeping in touch, please put up with this bi/trilingual blog as I need to write in English and French and once there will be using a Spanish computer. I trust you will understand most of what I write.

Hasta la proxima/ â bientôt,


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Be my Valentine

Another Sunday dinner to celebrate Valentines Day...too much food and chocolate, plus never ending dishes. But how I will miss those Sunday family gatherings. Hopefully I will get a taste of something similar in Panama. And I am sure Pierre will carry on the tradition while I am gone, with a little help from his kids.
This is my last week at work, officially retiring on Fiday after working since 1972, with a few years off for children and travel. I am really winding down, emptying my desk and gym locker, and saying goodbye to colleagues I have worked with for 9 years. I really feel it is time to move on to new adventures. So far no regrets, and I really do look forward to a slower pace in the more 6:30 dog walks and rushing to get over th bridge on time. Not for a while anyway.
L'avenir m'attend. Et j'ai le gout de faire autre chose.


Today I was informed of the family where I will be staying in David. How exciting. Stay tuned.


This photo is from Thailand.
Michel is setting up my blog.