Archive for the ‘Florida Panama Fall 2013’ Category

All Eyes

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

More people are killed by falling coconuts than by lightning.

Currently I watch where I walk for centipedes, tarantulas, midges, mosquitoes, cockroaches, rocks, roots, x-back snakes and never drying potholes. Now I have to look up too?

For any ‘doubting thomas’ who envisioned this tropical life as a vacation assignment, should live here for even a day. You can stop and make a pb&j sandwich for Carson, but if you look a way the ants will carry it off.  You have a well but it needs to be pumped for water. They just got a shower head installed by their landlord, but previously it was ladled water from a bucket. Sewage is septic but some of that gets into the riverlets and then into the ocean. All trash is fair game for critters and must be dealt with immediately.

Electricity is fickle but we do have air conditioning units in the 2 bedrooms. Washing is a challenge as the local laundermat has two machines in the open under a tin roof and today the dryers weren’t working. No internet but that’s a mixed blessing. There is a beautiful ocean to look at with stifling heat. So it takes a lot of planning to bring your food in from afar and store it away from bugs and mold, cook and clean up immediately, get your clothes laundered, not track in muck, check for bugs, stay cool, raise two kids, and now plan and carry out your ministry here in Panama to a populace that waxes and wanes with the tourist season and are indifferent because they need that much energy each day just to live.  It’s not my version of Paradise.

post script: The other morning Jonathan was disgusted to find a colony of ants in his raisin bran but food is precious.  So he threw his bowl full in a hot skillet to kill them off and proceeded to eat his toasted cereal and the added protein. yum

Are We There Yet??

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

The 6 hour drive from Panama City to the village of Santa Catalina was in excess of 7 hours due to torrential rain for most of the trip. This sojourn needed to be completed before dark because there were no street lights or lines on the narrow roads and it was just plain DARK!

So we crept along the last few miles including the rutted dirt road to their home. We had suitcases, food coolers, the Costco Run (PriceMart), 6 people and one car seat. Since we had to leave Carson’s car seat behind to spare the space, we strapped his wiggly body on top of  me.  

I love him dearly, but I now know the definition of “too much of a good thing.”

When in Panama

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

canalpanamaBoth our parents took cruises through the Panama Canal when they retired and had saved up. It was and is still high on the list of must-sees in the world.

I am reading “The Path Between the Seas” by David McCullough, which is the 40 year history of the attempts to join the Atlantic and the Pacific.

I know a plethora of  trivia about the 50 mile span that links the continents via the oceans:  5 locks that raise enormous ships up 85 feet to traverse a lake in the center and then down again to sea level. All tolls must be paid in cash and the largest toll as of two years ago was $350,000 paid by the cruise liner “Disney Magic.”

Coming up on its centennial year in 2014, they are enlarging the locks to accommodate even bigger ships.

It takes a better part of a day to make the trip but saves over 7,000 miles of transit.

They had to cure yellow fever, and tackle malaria which were each spread by different kinds of mosquito. First you had to convince the authorities they were caused by mosquitoes, at first it was thought to be the mist, or the filth.

Over 500 lives were lost per mile on this project.

This is an average container ship coming through the Miraflores lock near the Pacific Ocean as seen from the viewing platform.

Boy, Does it Rain!

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

jagualrIn Ireland, we learned that the household pets would frequently take to the thatched cottage roofs and snuggle in for the warmth and protection it provided. Thus, when there was torrential rain, the animals might just be pushed through the roof below and thus it was “raining  cats and dogs.”

Take that up a notch here in Panama. Maybe raining jaguars and pumas, of which they have a few. Last week’s Independence Day Parade was from 9-5 p.m. (really!) and in the rain. It didn’t seem to matter to the thousands lining the route.

paradeWe watched for a couple hours and saw perhaps 5 drill teams and bands during that time. They took 5 steps forward, 3 steps back, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. Seriously, the girls had uniforms with cleavage and 5 inch boots and looked like they should be on “Project Runway.”

The drum line was intense and all ages could be in the neighborhood bands. We saw 6yr olds and up, but they all had to know the routine. All were drenched but happy.

The enterprising sold umbrellas. I bought one.

At the Park

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

popi'sbackWhen my two boys were little, we frequented Lake Avenue Park in Huntington Beach. One particular afternoon when Steve had them both giggling and thoroughly enjoying themselves, an elderly man came up and approached us. He took just a moment and said with all sincerity(and maybe a little sadness in his eyes): “Treasure these moments, for they go by all too quickly Before you know, they will be all grown up”, and with that we watched him smile and travel on.  It resonated with us both and many times when we have time for the pure abandonment of “play,” we reflect on that small incident.

Then recently I read something Andy wrote in a college paper. It was about trying so hard to be the perfect parent; Room mom, coach, scouts…all the roles we take on that we forget to just BE the parent. Be there, be in the moment. Just be the mom or dad!

Well all three of them grew up really fast, and I don’t know that I did a good enough job just being the parent, but God has tremendously blessed us with the chance of just BEing the grandparents of 4 beautiful kiddos. So we play a lot. Maybe a creaky grandma going down a slide might embarrass you, but Carson thinks it’s awesome.

soleilAnd Steve plays tag until Carson falls on the ground with laughter (same with Abby and Daniel back at home).

And now our prayed over baby Soleil is here. Sorry, I’m not putting you back in your bed, you can just sleep on my chest, next to my heart because I’m BEing a grandmother!


Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

soleilbirth Steve and I left home on Oct.11, 2013 to head out again to Orlando (for work) and Daytona ( to see my dad) and then to Panama to await the birth of our grandaughter, Soleil Naomi Wilt. The princess took her sweet time as she was 9 days late, but appeared on the scene at 20″ and 8lbs 12 oz. We are watching big brother, Carson, while mom and dad have a couple days at the hospital to rest up for real life.

Lots of first impressions of Panama, but I know it’s not a complete picture yet as we are in the outskirts of town (Panama City) and not yet to the Wilt home-base in Santa Catalina, some 6 hours away in the jungle.

pararisaThat comes after we spend 10 days in a missionary compound where it is busy and we have been sequestered (my meaning=holed up) in two bedrooms. Our bedroom is about 8′ x 12′ with 4 bunk beds lining the walls with just enuff space to walk down the  middle. Mind you, that and a bathroom is it! We make our meals in the communal kitchen and retreat to the bedroom. The bunks do not allow for sitting without hitting ones head. It feels like you’re getting in a drawer to go to sleep. But it’s clean and free and it is what it is.

Now I guess my only complaint is there is NO HOT WATER. We clean with a lot of bleach but that shower can be awfully shocking. KC and Jono’s bedroom is next door with a double bed and one bunk set. We visit by sitting all around the double bed. Oh, they do have 3 folding chairs — the luxury suite.

It rains a whole bunch here in Panama, it’s a Jungle out there! But it’s not scattered showers, it’s a bucket thrown at you. The country is very green, but they are rather trashy; no litter laws. I guess they figure that something will grow over the mess eventually. The canal that bisects the country is a couple blocks away and the ships are huge! They are enlarging the canal to allow for even bigger ships. Lots of little tug boats scurrying around working 24/7.

But first impression: if you stare at it long enough, it will Rust, Mold, or become Overgrown.