More of the Same

The joke around the neighborhood these days…. what are you going to do tomorrow? I dunno, maybe I’ll stay in and do things at home. Ha!

Things are the same here. We are still allowed out for limited hours for essentials only – food, pharmacy, gas, bank, and health care. But, as authorities are increasingly frustrated with rule breakers, the penalties have increased. You can lose your license for 3 months, have your car impounded, pay heavy fines, and be arrested. Community service is the usual sentence. These folks got to clean the streets.


Daily updates and information continue. The priority is keeping people safe, but more efforts are being made to help needy people with food and money for necessities. Hopefully there is help coming for businesses also, so they will still exist to put people back to work when this is over. That’s not going to be over any time soon though. The few tentative projections I’ve seen think there will be a couple more months of lockdown, and then gradual lifting of the restrictions and a recovery phase extending until the end of the year. Of course though, as conditions change, plans and projections change. Whatever happens though, this is a life altering thing for the whole world.

My daughter shared this really interesting article with me.

What have we learned? What good things do we want to keep in our futures like more time with family, cleaner air, different priorities, more caring for each other? What forces are going to tell us what to think, buy, believe, behave, and how much of that will not be those good things? How will we fight for something different, something better? Sometimes the most growth and change come from the most difficult times.

As for us, we are staying in today. ha! One day runs into another and I can’t remember for sure when we were out last, 3 weeks? more? But, we continue to keep busy and happy. The house has never been cleaner. Daily music practice continues. The rains have come back!! ~happy dance~  It’s the end of the dry season and intense heat, so cooling and healing rains are very welcome. I’m getting back to yard work, getting a head start on the rapid growth that comes with the rain.

Oh, and I’ve learned to make masks too. It is requested that we make fabric masks (and wear them at all times when out) and leave the commercial ones for essential people on the front lines. They even have inmates in the jails making masks. This seems to work –  though 7″ of elastic was almost twice as long as I needed. I sewed the elastic to the back instead of inside so it would be easy to take off if I needed to change the length. I also sewed a piece of large twisty tie material/wire into the edge that goes over the nose so it could be shaped to fit nicely against the nose without gaps.

Speaking essential people, the trash men are making their rounds. The dogs are going NUTS! The dogs have so little to bark at these days that if they hear a dog barking 3 blocks away, it must be SOMETHING so they all get in on it. They usually ignore a neighbor tending their yard but now that is also a time to go crazy.

Generally though, it’s pretty darn quiet around here these days. We were all confined to home for the whole weekend and I heard a car leave the neighborhood on Saturday. What was THAT?! Who is that? where are they going? why? I think that’s the only car or truck or motor I heard all weekend so it was kind of a event. But, mostly its just the sounds of nature, many bird songs, the wind in the trees, maybe a neighbor, oh yes and the dogs LOL. We’re pretty darn fortunate that we can enjoy all this without worry about meeting our daily needs. If only that were true for everyone.

Someday this will be us….

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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10 Responses to More of the Same

  1. Alan Marshall says:

    Hi Kris, I hope this message finds you and yours safe and healthy. I have followed your posts for years and enjoy them. I’ve made contact with you in the past too. Here is a post worth reading about Panama and their response to this virus that I thought you might like to read. It was written by the Atlantic Council.
    Take care and stay safe. Regards, Alan Marshall


    • Thank you. Yes, very interesting article. I’m sure glad I’m not in a position to make decisions. There is nothing at all easy or clear.
      Thanks, and I hope you are well and safe also.


  2. Eliza Ayres says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal.


  3. eswini says:

    I liked the joke:) I might stay in too today. These days of intense introspection bring life changing questions Stay safe:)


  4. It will be interesting to see what the world is like when we come out of this, and how it and how we have changed. Date bar? That sounds good, and a nice gift.


  5. Felipe says:

    We’d just retired March 1 as all this happened so our plans for another Panama trip are delayed. We did get three weeks of camping in Dath Valley before things shut down. It sounds like Panama is managing things well there, which is good to know. You’ll be in rainy season anyway relatively soon so that will keep people inside at least part of the day. Stay healthy and thank you for the update.


    • People are generally being good about staying in. Of course there are always some but the police are on the job. The rains have come back too which is really nice. Sorry about your travel plans, but hopefully one of these days things will settle down and you can reschedule.


  6. Richard says: clearly shows the case and death count rates flatlining when viewed logarithmically.

    The quarantine techniques have paid off!

    I would be expecting announcements, therefore, for a phased return to economic (not social) normalcy similar to the public health plan put forth in the USA this week.

    Instead, El Presidente silently extended the Saturday quarantine used during the Holy Days into April 18th and the banks were the ONLY ones to let people know at the end of Friday; there was no communication from El Presidente or the Ministries.

    For all men of Panamá, this new normal constitutes one day a week for banking since Tuesday is for morning numbers and Thursday is for evening numbers. Females continue to enjoy full banking benefits of Monday-Wednesday-Friday as well as the customary pharmacy discount day available only on Fridays.

    I can see how the inequalities of this system will grow old in one or two weeks.

    This excludes the ignored riots by the nation’s poor and “non-essential” workers forced to stay at home who plead for the meager bags of rice and $20 a month El Presidente gives for subsistence while preventing them from gainful employment.

    El Presidente has also sent home the nation’s profitable mine workers who constitute 6% of the GDP growth of Panamá between 2017 and 2019. El Presidente has declared them no longer “essential.”

    “Panamá has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world with an average growth rate of 4.6% over the last 5 years,” according to World Bank, as of 16APR2020.

    While the GDP numbers are dated, the CIA online library references the recently improved financial stability built into the Panamá economy that is independent of COVID-19 since the second Panamá Canal went online mid-June 2016.

    A quick webcam check of the locks at each end of both Panama Canals at 2 a.m., it’s slowest cycle time, revealed ships have been flowing nonstop earning Panamá a steady paycheck while its people remain home.

    So, the answer to the earlier article from Atlantic Council is that it was poorly researched. Still, the people of Panamá do need to get back to work. Soon.

    We’ve had a little over 100 deaths from COVID-19, a statistically small number that demonstrates the remarkable achievement of the Panamanian resolve.

    Each death is horrible. Frankly, Panamá sees THREE times that many die on the Pan American Highway each year racing to the beaches and to and from work. Most just get irritated because the accident slowed them down and took three hours of beach time.

    Finally, making the Saturday quarantine an ongoing penalty is clearly unfair to all
    Tuesday-or-Thursday males who must drive 30-40 minutes one way from remote locations to then stand in long lines withdrawing at bank one, depositing payments at bank two or three before proceeding to stores before racing home while avoiding a police intervention. Many transactions in Panama sadly cannot be performed online as there is no ACH mechanism for the myriad commercial entities that are not a monstrous utility or insurance company.

    Saturday quarantines must end. Phased reentry of the economy must begin. Now.


    • Wow, thanks for the great comment and all the links! We are all tired of this quarantine and it’s hopeful to see that it’s helping. I agree though that it’s very difficult and painful for many, but I think the government is putting safety ahead of economics. I haven’t seen much about their plans to get the country back to work, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t working on it, or at least I hope they are. I don’t always follow the news closely enough. As for the Saturday quarantine, I’ve heard about it for a couple days and I think we should be prepared for more weekends like this. Maybe it’s because the majority of violators are male? I dunno, and my opinion doesn’t change anything anyway. Yes, any death is tragic, and I wish we could take such strong measures against other causes also, but for now I appreciate that they are doing their best to keep us all safe from the virus, and all of us are looking forward to coming out the other side. Thanks so much, and I’m off to study the links you shared.


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