For months I’ve been counting the day’s until Mariah got to Panama! She arrived on May 11th and today she has 10 more days of her visit left, she goes home on June 3rd. We’ve had so much fun exploring together and reconnecting in a way that we never have before. I must say that I ‘m enjoying the company of my daughter as a mature, (mostly! 🙂 Hah! ) young women, for the first time. It’s been so incredible to get to know this independent, young women and to discover and renew a relationship with her like I’ve never had before. We’ve been working on putting the past travails behind us and on establishing a relationship based on who we are now. The past is long gone and although we all three went through a lot of pain and sorrow together , it’s time that we all let go and forgive. We’ll just chalk it up to a nasty adolescence and move forward from here…
Today( Monday,12/22) I had the best Christmas EVER! My friend Lynn invited me to help her with something really special. Last year she and her friend Brian began a new tradition of giving Christmas gifts to all the Children in the Village near her jungle lodge, Rambalita. This project began last year with a generous donation by Brian, who is a good friend of hers, and this year she was able to collect more donations from other friends and with the help of many of her good friends she successfully pulled it off again this year. A lot of work goes into this and I feel so honored to have been invited to help. Lynn put a huge amount of much love and energy into making it all happen.
Her cuidador or property manager, Javiar has a home in this village and he helps by collecting the headcount of all the children, how many niños , niñas and infants. There are 34 houses with 71 children in total, 28 girls and 43 boys. Lynn and a friend went into David and had a great time shopping for all the gifts and they also purchased a bit of food items for each house as well.
After the shopping spree she put out the word that it was time to wrap! And her good friends came with scissors in hand ready to wrap their little hearts out! According to Javier, the children here just love to receive a gift that’s wrapped. Each child got an age appropriate gift as well as a backpack type of bag filled with little goodies. Then each household got a grocery bag of food. And the moms got some pretty plastic flowers and a little gifty item and the dads got a little trinket as well. It was indeed a Feliz Navidad for all!
This was a completely new experience for me and I was overwhelmed. All the Children in the village were so precious I just wanted to hug them all. They were pretty polite, patient and grateful. Although I suspect there were those who were attempting to get more than just one gift. I tried to help handing out gifts for a little while but then it became apparent to me that there was no way for me to know if I was getting repeat customers!! So I began to repeat..”Habla con Javier” “Habla con Javier” Habla con Javier”!!! Yikes!! Javier was much more in the “know” about who had how many hermanos and hermanas ! It seemed as though there were millions of little hands tapping me on the back and on my arms and as I turned to see what they wanted those little faces just melted my heart! I had to let someone else do the handing out before I just blinding gave the same adorable face anything at all!! Did I mention…Overwhelmed!!
In the end I think everyone was happy and a Feliz Navidad was successfully had at Rambalita! As we packed up to leave many of the mothers very sweetly came up to us and took our hands and thanked us and wished us a Feliz Navidad, with smiles on their faces. All I can say is, this Holiday is officially the best one I’ve ever had! I hope I get to do this again next year and many years to come. Christmas is a time for giving and for generosity and even though they don’t know it, those families at Rambalita gave me the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received. The joy in their faces warmed my heart and made me happy as well. You just can’t wrap that and put it under a tree and I’m sure they don’t sell that at a mall. Merry Christmas to all my friends and family.
I’ve written about this very special place in the past…Rambala Jungle Lodge( http://www.Rambalajunglelodge.com ) . This weekend, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to join Eric & Lynn at their beautiful lodge in the jungles of Bocas. We went specifically to lend a hand in the raising of a new cabin. Our good friends Joel & Kris were kind enough to join us on this trip and I think I can speak for all of us when I say, a good time was had by all! I have to tell you that I was tremendously relieved when we arrived to find that their grounds keeper Javier, was prepared to whisk me off to the lodge upon one of his trusty horses. As you may recall, I recently injured my ankle pretty good, and this trip had been arranged before I had my little accident. So, I had prepared myself for a very slow, very careful hike on my injured ankle with my crutches. The hike up to the lodge isn’t horrible, I figured I could make it if I just took my time and went very slowly and carefully. One thing was certain… I wasn’t willing to cancel on account of a little ankle injury! We had packed as lightly as possible because Scott was planning to schlep all our gear and the meal he had volunteered to prepare, without any help from me. On two healthy legs, under normal circumstances, the hike into the jungle lodge is not too far, maybe 20-30 minutes. But had I hobbled in on my crutches it could have been closer to an hour or so. So, as you can imagine I was relieved when we arrived at the spot where we leave our car, and there was Javier with a horse saddled up and ready to cart me in. He also had a second horse all ready to carry all our gear up to the lodge as well, wow! Scott had fully expected to carry our cooler and all our gear and was pleasantly surprised by this turn of events. I should explain that under normal circumstances, when they have guests arrive at the lodge Javier is ready to guide them to the lodge and their belongings get put on the horses. This weekend was an exception because we weren’t normal guests, we were there to work and they had given Javier his yearly vacation time off. But because we arrived on Friday at a reasonable hour, before he was to leave, he was there to help us. Lucky me!
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Since moving here to Boquete I’ve told you about all the really great people we have met and are becoming friends with. I know I’ve mentioned our realtor, Lyn. She is the one who , in my mind , is a renaissance woman! I’m certain she will humbly deny this description of herself but too bad ,That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Lyn and her Husband Eric started a Jungle lodge in Bocas Mainland, (the Caribbean side of Panama). They bought the land about six years ago and have been slowly working on developing it into a self-sustaining eco tourism destination for about the last three years. We were invited to be their guests this past weekend and I want to tell you about out experience there. Read the rest of this entry