Bocas del Toro is without a doubt a melting pot of different cultures and as such, the community is comprised of various different groups of people. It’s been inspiring recently to see these different sectors of the town come together to achieve common goals and the Bocas Breeze would like to pay tribute to these instances of comradery here.
A Better Place for the Kids to Play
Chris Vasquez and Dario Smith got together to give a little love to Parque Simon Bolivar (main park). When it rains the park gets a bit muddy so these guys came together in an effort to make the park a better place for children to play. “We spent less than one hour moving the water, then we redistributed the sand properly. We compacted the area and raked everything out. We also removed any rocks from the area,” said Chris. He also helped spread awareness about the effort through social media and Sterling Hopman and Unidos por Bocas answered the call. On October 14th, 19 volunteers collaborated on removing the dirt around the playground equipment and brought in more sand to create a slope eliminating the mounds that retained the water. Kudos to Chris Vasquez, Dario Smith, Sterling Hopman and all the volunteers of Unidos for Bocas. Way to take pride in your park.
Coming Together in Support of a Friend
On September 3rd friends of Sebastien Neumann gathered at Gran Kahuna hostel in Carenero in support of Sebastian who was in need of help with medical expenses. Delicious barbecue and gourmet treats were enjoyed, there was a silent auction with great prizes donated by local businesses and live music filled the air as friends of Sebastien and visitors alike came together on a beautiful Bocas afternoon and all in support of Sebastien. Kudos to Kristen of Random Art for her efforts, Sumayyah McCarren of Buena Vista Realty, Gran Kahuna and all the lovely people who extended their support. It’s great to see friends be there for each other in their time of need.
Beer Crate Walkway in Carenero
Carenero Island is certainly not a mountain, so when it rains a lot, you can be sure to encounter some puddles. Sifu Chuck and the people of Aqua Lounge noticed their neighbors trekking through the massive puddles and decided to engineer a very practical plastic walkway using empty beer crates that the Aqua Lounge bar had lying around. Now the children of Carenero don’t have to walk around in their school uniforms soaking wet from the knees down. Well done Sifu Chuck, Hannes, Christian and all the great people over at the Aqua Lounge in Carenero. You guys are great neighbors!
Stolen Outboard Motor Replaced by Tourist’s GoFundMe Campaign
by Brooke Groneman
We had a wonderful time and we were lucky enough to meet Nestor on our second day there. He was an amazing guide, a fantastic representative of this beautiful region of Panama…and to top it all off he is a wonderful person! He took great care of my friend and I and our kids!
We were fortunate enough to be able to meet 2 of his children and since they were on school break we loved it when they would join us on our Bocas adventures. While we were there his wife had their 5th child…Ernesto. Hector (10 years old) loves baseball and dreams of playing in the US someday! Little Nestor (3) wants to be a boat captain like his dad.
He took us to his family’s village to meet his mom, aunt, sister, brother and grandmother. They live in a rural village of about 75 people with no electricity and extremely basic living conditions. Our lives could not be more different but none of that mattered…we became friends!
A few days before we were to leave he told us with tears in his eyes that his boat had been stolen. The boat was recovered but the motor was gone! He lost EVERYTHING that night. The boat was his only means of supporting his family. It was a totally devastating loss for them. His family had no means to help him through this situation. The boat is what keeps food on their table. My son, Caden, actually suggested we do a Go Fund Me campaign when we got home. We didn’t tell Nestor about our idea because I didn’t want to get his hopes up and nothing come of it. Caden set it up and within days we had a good start. I asked Doug if he would help get the money to Nestor…. and of course, Doug being
the fantastic person he is, he did not hesitate. I sent the money to Doug, he searched out Nestor and surprised him! I did talk to Nestor on the phone and he just really could not believe what was happening.
Nestor and his family were a big part of why we loved Bocas so much. They made our time there much more than just a vacation. We were happy to help someone who so deserves good things to happen to him!
Editor’s note: Thank you Doug Marcy and Anne-Michelle Wand of United Country Real Estate for bringing this story to my attention and thank you to Brooke Groneman for your efforts and sharing your story with us. Any other inspiring Bocas “Breeze-worthy” tales can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers of Selina, along with the ATP (Panamanian Tourism Authority) and municipal government working together to remove trash and prevent mosquito breeding grounds. All a
part of the Selina Gives Back program.