Man with Machete

Men with Machetes seems to be the preferred method of managing fields that have become overgrow with grass.  There has been a man working on a field down the street for the last three days. I said hello as I passed on my bicycle, and stopped to talk with him on my return trip.

Man with Machete

He makes $10/day cutting grass with his machete in the hot sun. He told me he is very poor, pointing out his old clothes. He is quite small and missing most of his teeth. He said he has no family, and when I asked him where he lives he pointed south.

My heart went out to him. He seemed really happy that we stopped to talk and readily gave his consent for a photo. There are many men who work like this, and I have been told by others that $10/day is the usual rate, or maybe $12 at the most. It has to be awfully hard to get by on that. And, what happens if the guy is sick or can’t work?

I took this photo of the field as we passed it in the car later in the day.

I took this photo of the field as we passed it in the car later in the day. By then he was finished and had left.

If I’d had any money with me I probably would have given it to him. I know this doesn’t solve the problem, but it might have made this week a little easier. Unfortunately there are men with machetes all over the country, and without education and job skills this is all they know how to do.

It makes whatever I worry about seem much less significant.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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6 Responses to Man with Machete

  1. So true, Kris. Our problems often pale in comparison to the least of these. What a great gesture to care about him for a short time.


    • Kris says:

      There are a lot of gardeners and a fair number of men with machetes around here, and they are all nice to talk to. This one touched me more for some reason.


  2. indacampo says:

    What a lovely photo and story Chris.

    It’s true, it seems that most of the fellows that work cutting grass with machete’s around here are older fellows. The young ones that are hired have the advanced technology of the whipper snipper (weed whacker) but once the grass gets very high only a machete will do. Most of the men are out there in their little leather sandals, I hate to think what is in that long grass.


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