Our day started with a trip to the town well actually lets rectify, not a town as it might qualify for a village, although truly it looked more like a formalized settlement of families. Here it seems like time froze, to give you an idea: electricity and running water are still a luxury not a commodity, the only telephone booth in town has a lineup pretty much all day, and you will not find much at the tiendas either, a school provides education to the children growing there up until the age of 15. Once they reach that age they will have to leave home to Santiago if their parents can afford it… The locals rely on their own ancestral techniques to preserve and make ends meet all year long. As this time of the year during dry season, the fish are laying around getting ready for winter soup. Lastly the only way to get to the pueblo is by boat there is no road, hence if you need clothes, furniture or deliver a baby in a hospital for that matter you take the panga!
Sadly one can easily see signs of trouble all over the village, young men with nothing to do, other than sporting “gang” type outfits, alcohol seems to be the easy way out of the day to day life; for a village of 1700 people, they have a detachment of 5 military police, and 5 bars. Also the Columbian have been known to enjoy the bay for cross docking some of their export; a way to give a boost to the local economy, with some rather dramatic consequences.
Parrot’s nest and one of the habitant.
The rest of our stay was just filled with rich experiences and sharing many stories with Domingo owner of the land in the anchorage and Kennedy’s family. We had met Melanie earlier (daughter of Kennedy 14y) and all agreed on a swim after school. She shyly came on board for some crafts and overall teenager chats with Benjamin and of course a swim! During the conversation she was curious as to where we were going. Now we have very few books onboard, but brought some with us for these occasions: one is “Canada in winter”, one is on “Toronto now and then”, and one is from friends of ours who have travelled around the world with their sailboat Nor Siglar “9 years on the seven seas” by Ann Brevig. Their book seemed the most appropriate to describe Melanie our experience and show her what the world was made of.
While browsing the book, we looked at the South pacific and Asia, then back to Panama to see Ann and Martin’s own experience. The laugh out of Melanie was unmistakable; when we discovered a photo of the clan taken in 1992. Her mind was racing trying to recognize everybody, some were easier than others but all were identified. No other option was left than to recreate this picture, Domingo and the entire family had never even seen the book nor have any photo of this period. Domingo knew that he was in one guide, but never imagined that his Bahia would have 6 pages and him in four photos, when most country have 3-4 of their own. His pride was palpable, Rosalin and Kennedy were laughing at the change, and the Senora hasn’t changed a bit in 22 years, she still has that same soft and caring smile.
Clan 1992 in front of the old House
From left to right
Domingo’s Wife, one of the twin sister, Kennedy 18years old (now father of 3)at the time, Rosalin 11, second twin (both are now living in Santiago), Domingo’s brother in law,
and to the far right the one with a caring and proud look over his family is Domingo.
Clan 2014 in front of their new house – From Left to right –
Domingo’s wife, Kennedy, Octavio (little one in front), Rosalin, Melanie, and Domingo.
Missing are Olivia (Kennedy’s wife and mother of Melanie, Octavio), Kennedy Junior (son of Kennedy and Olivia at school in Santiago), Daisy and Edwin (kids of Rosalin) and her husband who were gone fishing at the time.
This is Octavio in his own home
Now let’t see this little guy in 20 years, if he still lives around here. Who knows, the road feared by his grand father maybe built by then and tourism will come in greater number enabeling him to earn a good living and still enjoy this beautiful piece of paradise.
Here is a blue footed booby taking a pit stop on Letitgo and resting for a while.
Below is Valerie explaining him very kindly that he can’t stay on board or the man in charge of the deck cleaning is going to appear very soon with a more menacing tone. He got the message and disappeared never to be seen again. This is why we are making a great team; we each have our own strength.
Yes he is listening!