The Comarca

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A large part of Panama to the north of us is Comarca, or land of the indigenous Ngäbe Buglé people. Most of it is difficult to access, or impossible in the rainy season except by foot or horseback. The green areas on this map are indigenous areas, and the big one to the west of the word “Panama” is the subject of this post.

What got me thinking about the comarca today was a video. I love these young people who are making a life on a piece of land above Boquete. They have also been selling coffee, and they went to the Comarca to buy organic coffee from the indigenous people there. Jordan, the guy, talked about how incredibly beautiful it is in the Comarca and how special it was to be allowed in there, a place that few get to see. You can see a little of the scenery in the video, and that was enough to make me curious to see more. (No, he’s not leaving his family in Panama, only leaving the wife and baby home for the day).

So, I went searching on YouTube for more comarca and found this video. It’s in Spanish but you can follow the guy as he walks for hours and hours to get to his destination, passing through the beautiful countryside, and you see some of the locals, their homes and towns. Even without understanding him you can get a feel for what it’s like there.

Yes, it’s a very hard life! I can see the appeal of living in such natural beauty away from the stress and noise of our typical lives, but they pay a price. Most of the people are so remote that access is difficult, or impossible in the rainy season. They have minimal to no access to medical care or other help, and even basic nutrition can be a challenge. They have schools but I don’t know if they result in a better standards of living or more choices in life for the students.

If you want to explore further, a YouTube search will bring up quite a few more videos

This one shows areas near the water and lots of beautiful scenery

This will give you just a taste. This country has an amazing amount of natural beauty.

Other than that, our lives are going on as usual, more or less. I’m always tired of summer by now so I’m happy to say we got some showers, then a good downpour yesterday and it’s raining hard right now again. It’s amazing how fast you start to see green in the grass and happiness in the mani (perineal peanut) that is our backyard ground cover. The band has had a couple extra gigs recently, and we are getting a new kitchen in the house (story to follow later on that). It’s going to be great but we’re just getting out of the everything-in-boxes-can’t-find-anything stage. And, we had to run and get a new tire to replace a bad one, and a few other unplanned things which I can ‘t even remember at the moment. So the last couple weeks have felt a bit nuts. It reminds me of the past when I used to actually DO stuff all day, like work, take care of home and family, etc. ha!

The virus statistics look quite good now, and I hope they stay that way. The mask mandate has been lifted for outdoors but most people still wear masks everywhere. Maybe after all this time we all feel naked with bare faces. I know I do. But the city is active and bustling, and if we are out at night we notice restaurants with full parking lots. After the economic struggles of so many people during the pandemic it’s great to see people and business thriving.

Myself, I feel so fortunate every day. I’m sitting here on my back terrace watching it rain, enjoying a cool breeze, and listening to one of my favorite birds who likes to serenade me from a nearby tree. I found a dead beetle on the terrace this morning so I gave it to the ants on my shelf. It’s kept them busy all day. Life continues to be interesting and enjoyable.

I hope you all out there are doing well! Take care of yourselves and each other.

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