Everyday Panama – Yesterday

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Twisty Tower, Calle 50, Panama

An Unusual Perspective

Twisty Tower from below, Panama

I took this quick shot with my crummy camera phone out the passenger window yesterday. Doesn’t this perspective make the twisty tower on Calle 50 look like a giant drill bit?

Here is the normal (exquisitely beautiful) view of it:

Twisty Tower, Calle 50, Panama

This is our family’s favourite building in Panama. It may not be the tallest skyscraper in the world, but it certainly is one of the prettiest!

Close-up Iguana at Punta Culebra

Summer 2013 Slideshow

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Coco Solo: How the Frog and the Caiman was Created

Coco Solo audiobook team

Coco Solo audiobook team

Remember ‘The Frog and the Caiman’, the beautifully illustrated audiobook by the children of Coco Solo from earlier this year? http://panamajama.com/2013/03/21/the-frog-and-the-caiman-illustrated-audiobook-from-the-kids-of-coco-solo/ Here is the story of how the project came to fruition.

The audio book workshop was led by Lorena Endara and Eduardo Arenas, the idea fitting perfectly with this year’s goal of increasing literacy at Coco Solo. In Lorena’s own words:

“Eduardo noticed that a lot of the kids who don’t know how to read also don’t have someone who will read to them. He also believes that hearing the sounds while seeing the letters is integral to learning how to read. This was a great way to empower the kids into creating their own learning tools. The audio book exemplifies Cambio Creativo’s mission at its best!”

Coco Solo Recording Session

Recording the Frog and the Caiman

“The young participants (8-14 year olds) were so excited to realize that their story would be “published”. The Cambio Creativo team developed the story together, each child adding to the story line one by one. Then Winnie Natero narrated it while another group recorded the sounds effects. Afterwards, several of them made illustrations. Eduardo mixed the audio, and I edited the video.”

Coco Solo illustrators hard at work

Coco Solo illustrators hard at work

“We believe this audiobook is a great resource for the youth of Coco Solo, as well as for the public at large. It is amazing to see the enthusiasm and confidence that comes about creating something so purposeful and that kids everywhere are keen on multimedia pieces, you tube videos, apps, etc. This is a way to take that medium and use it towards educational endeavors. We are all so proud of collaborating to develop these projects!”

Three Years Today!!!

Panama and Scotland flag entwinedThree years ago today, we touched down in the most beautiful country on this planet of ours! A country that has given our whole family so many rich experiences. A country that has encouraged all five of us to live life to its full potential. A country that has inspired all five of us to become active, fit and sporty, by sheer virtue of year round warmth, blue skies, and easy availability of activities.

We are here thanks to my husband’s job working on the canal expansion project. What an opportunity landed in our lap (or, more precisely, my husband’s inbox) that day! How could we have lived with ourselves if we had timidly turned it down? Well, thank goodness we didn’t!

My children have thrived at their all-American, super-positive school – which still reminds me of Rydell High each time I see it! Each day they have their recess/playtime outside, in the shade of an enormous gnarled old tree, frequently watched by emerald green parrots.

Every day I thank my lucky stars that we somehow, through all of life’s very high ups and extraordinarily low downs, made it to this place, which, thanks to the invention of insect repellent, really is Heaven on Earth for us, at least. Not surprisingly there are many places here named ‘Paraiso’, in English ‘PARADISE’.

Panama, you have my heart forever and ever.

Panama heart

Mondo Explorer Panama

I am excited to announce that I am now a Freelance Writer for travel website Mondo Explorer! Developing my writing skills is something that has happened gradually and organically as a result of my passion for Panama which urged me to start my blog, almost three years ago now.

I am delighted to able to use my knowledge and enthusiasm about this incredibly special country to reach a wider audience, and, hopefully, to inspire more people to visit, or at least to help them decide on the best places to go during their time here.

Here is a link to my very first article for them which I hope will prove to be the first of many. I also included a bonus photo of Casco Antiguo which was left over. 🙂

Panama City Day Trip

Casco Antiguo roofline

‘The Frog and the Caiman’ Illustrated Audiobook from the Kids of Coco Solo

The children of Coco Solo got together recently to make a really charming illustrated audiobook entitled ‘El Sapo y el Caiman’ – ‘The Frog and the Caiman.’  Here is the first page, complete with my translation underneath:

The Frog and the Caiman by the children of Coco Solo

Once upon a time, a green frog was swimming through a dangerous stream. This stream was full of large fish who wanted to eat the frog. The frog became scared and jumped onto the land where it met a caiman.

Please click on the link below to listen to the story and see the pictures in all their glory. You will be impressed!

You know, I think the best way to do this post would be simply to show each page, and include a translation underneath, so this beautiful creation can reach an audience of English speakers as well as Spanish speakers. (My Spanish is not so brilliant, but you should get the gist well enough 🙂 ) So, page 2:

The Frog and the Caiman by Coco Solo page 2, Panama

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The Frog and the Caiman by Coco Solo4

The caiman said to him: “I would like to help you get to know the forest!”.

The frog and the caiman went all around the forest.

And then he said to him: “Would you like to come to my house for dinner?”.

The Frog and the Caiman by Coco Solo5

The frog and the caiman went to the caiman’s house, but the frog did not for one moment suspect that he was going to be dinner. The caiman put a saucepan of water on to boil then put the frog inside and shut the lid.

The Frog and the Caiman by Coco Solo6

The frog jumped

and jumped

and jumped

until the lid fell off.

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The caiman was relaxing watching his fish tank, wondering whether he was going to dine on frog with octopus or fish and frog Escabeche.

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When he realized that the frog had run off, he started to chase him, but as the frog was very small and agile, he escaped him by running, swimming and jumping.

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After running and jumping and swimming for a long time, the frog arrived at Froggy Island, where his mum, dad, gran, aunt and uncle lived with his four brothers and sisters.

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The frog told his family that a caiman wanted to eat him, but as it was his little brother’s birthday, there was a really big party…

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Everyone celebrated with grilled flies, music and dancing.

THE END

Isn’t it great? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could somehow turn it into a real paper book??  At a later date I need to tell you all about the team involved behind this, but for now, just enjoy the story!