Sr. Chavez Achieved His Christmas Dream

Sr. Chavez has a dream. A Christmas dream, if you will. He wants to finish a house that he has been building for 8 years now. He needs doors, windows, a ceiling, plumbing, electricity and a ramp so that he can access the entrance, as he is in a wheelchair. A group of benevolent Bocas ladies have been busy helping make his dream come true and just in time for the holidays.

Aristides Chavez is man beloved by friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the community of Bocas del Toro. He is the head statistician for the hospital in Bocas and dedicates his spare time to tutoring children in mathematics free of charge. He also started a men’s and youth basketball league on the island in 1986.

“He is a very humanitarian man who loves to teach. Everybody knows him, from the universities, to the secondary schools, the elementary schools. Everybody goes to his house for help with their math homework,” says Catalina Thomas, a longtime friend and co-worker of Chavez. “Practically every child on the island has taken classes with Sr. Chavez,” adds Nereyda Peterson, another friend and co-worker.

Chavez will need a wheelchair ramp for his home because he suffers from Progressive Muscular Dystrophy, for which he also requires the aid of a nurse. His mother had been taking care of him for years, however unfortunately she was killed in the motorcycle accident that occurred July 24th outside of the Isla Colon supermarket. She was his only family on the island and he has since had to hire private nurses to take care of him. These unexpected expenses have put the construction of his home to a halt.


He’s already invested about $10,000 in it, but will need more to convert what is now a construction site into an actual home. For that reason, his dear friends and co-workers at the hospital have been actively organizing fund-raising activities to help him achieve this Christmas dream. Catalina Thomas, Nereyda Peterson, Lilian Brown and Alba Taguado are altruistic culprits behind this initiative.

The first collection was held November 30th in Parque Bolivar, where the ladies were able to generate $900. Kelly Berube de DeCaro was kind enough to spread the word of Sr. Chavez’s dream onto the internet to her contacts in Panama, the US and around the world and as a result hundreds of dollars have been donated via Paypal.

Presently there still remains an estimated $2,500 that will be required to pay for the necessary building materials and labor to finish the home. However, thanks to the efforts and generosity of the community, the money won’t stand in the way of this dream becoming a reality.

By the good graces of Chow Kai and Maderas Richard, it seems that Sr. Chavez will be able to spend the holiday in his very own home afterall. The two stores have allowed everything to be taken on credit so that the house can be finished before the 25th of December. All that remains to make his Christmas dream 100% complete is to pay the outstanding bills of the construction.

The fund raising activities have been great so far, but you can expect more. The ladies have ideas for bingo, raffles and special event parties to generate the necessary funds to pay for the materials and labor that have been graciously contributed on credit in order to make Sr. Chavez’s Christmas dream a reality.

The best way you can contribute to these efforts, is to go directly to Maderas Richard and donate money to Sr. Chavez’s account. The Chow Kai account has been paid, thanks to the donations thus far and what is left to pay is the account at Maderas Richard.

Thanks to all who have helped make Sr. Chavez’s Christmas dream come true: Chow Kai and Maderas Richard, Cable Chico, Kelly Berube de Caro and her contacts, Alba Taguado, Nereyda Peterson, Lilian Brown, Catalina Thomas and all those of the community who have been able to help in one way or another.


The Bocas Breeze is a digital and print newspaper proudly serving the Bocas del Toro community since 2004; reporting news, advertising local businesses and promoting tourism in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

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