Settling In, Finally… In Just Enough Time Before We Leave

Dear world,

At first I was completely uncomfortable with the way things are down here in Panama. And when I say “things” I mean, life styles, the ways of life. For instance, the lack of trash bins, lack of trash pick up, and cold showers has really thrown me off. Oh, on a side note, Panama City has gone on a water strike for the past couple of days. I think it’s supposed to last for another 2 days due to the fact that the water is currently polluted. Apparently, Victoria said that since there has been so much rainfall in the past month and caused so many floods, the pipeline cleaning system has collapsed under all the pressure. It’s not used to holding so much water and therefore, instead of getting around to purifying twice through the system (which is what its supposed to do), its only going through once. Hence the reason why they’ve shut down all water use in Panama City which is absolutely nuts.

Today we were driving through the city on our way to another Kuna village for interviews, and we passed a huge water truck just like the ones that they used to have set up on the music festival grounds. This situation, however, was a little bit more insane. First of all, the trucks were positioned directly beside the highway. Secondly, all the people who were in desperate need of water (which was A LOT of people) had to park on the side of the highway and gather huge water canisters and containers to bring with them to fill up. I tried to imagine what that would be like for another city of that size. Of course I first thought about New Orleans, but then I tried to imagine a place like New York City having to get water from an 18-wheeler truck. HAHA. Yeah right, insanity and chaos would ensue. On that note, Victoria told us that she lives in the city and how upset her mother was over the no water situation. Apparently she called Victoria in agitation because they just, out of nowhere, told the residents of their building in the city that there would be NO water for the next three days. That’s astounding! But not as astounding as what the indigineous tribes have to go through in order to get clean water (as according to their standards, definitely not mine).

This made me rethink the whole cold shower situation yet again. Although it stung my eyes and made me tense up when it ran down my back, cold water is better than no water, that’s for sure, ESPECIALLY after a long day out in the hot sun gathering interviews. I can now proudly say that I successfully took a cold shower today, and well….rather enjoyed it. Does this mean I’m settling in a bit more into this lifestyle? Or am I just becoming more accustomed to it since I’ve been here for over a few days now? I’m not really sure. I’d like to think that I’m settling in, but I leave in just a few days, so I guess I can’t settle in too much.

The other day Randy found himself in the mix of 4 tribal chiefs and a heated argument over whether or not our film crew should be let into their territory. Apparently there have been a few other film crews that have passed through their area claiming to help them, but instead stole the information and documented footage to make profits for themselves. In this argument, one guy said, I don’t understand why they can’t just stay for a month and help these people. Why is it okay just to let them stay for a few hours just to take a glimpse and snatch away the stories? I’ll admit, it’s not exactly what I want to do (considering their whole bathroom situation..and oh, the no electricity, etc.), but I can understand from their perspective that it leaves them more vulnerable to outsiders. I am DETERMINED to show them that THAT is not us, and that we will get help for these people.

I feel like the journey has just started. There are so many more people I’d like to meet, so many more stories I’d like to hear. I want to help this foundation ANYWAY possible and that is my plan.

Signing Off from Panama (for now)

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