Panama 2017: Call from Gloria

Yes, it’s time to start anticipating Panama 2017. I’ll be there from January 26- February 11. Friend Sally will join me for the whole time, and friends Mary and Emily Ross will join us for week one. We’re going to be in a penthouse condo this year, up the beach from the villa I usually rent — just to try something new.

Gloria will, of course, return to cook for us. She is going to be a grandmother again. Daughter in law Fani is expecting a little girl, who will be born about two months after we leave. Gabrielito will be a big brother.

Some of you have asked about medical care via the public system in Panama, which is what is accessible to the villagers. Clearly Fani is getting pre-natal care, which includes finding out the sex of the baby. It’s still true that any complications of pregnancy mean a trip into Panama City, and that includes during childbirth. If there is maternal or fetal distress, they load the woman into a van and send her the two hours down the Pan American highway. There’s no medical support on the van, not even oxygen. As you can imagine, the perinatal maternal and child death rate is pretty high if anything untoward occurs. It’s a risk that any young village woman who wants to bear a child has to take.

There is also some anxiety about the history of cardiac problems in Gloria’s extended family, and Fani and Gabriel held off trying for another child out of fear that Gabrielito’s Tetralogy of Fallot would reoccur. With reasonable assurance that it’s unlikely, they are pregnant again and eagerly awaiting their daughter. Gloria, as you can imagine, is ecstatic.

Gabrielito is almost Archie's age.

Gabrielito is almost Archie’s age.

2 thoughts on “Panama 2017: Call from Gloria

  1. for Nedra: Thank you, and I’ll be sure Fani knows that you are surrounding her with prayer and good thoughts. This was a big step for her and Gabriel. Remember that she wasn’t even 20 when Gabrielito was born, and she was given an impossible mandate: keep him from getting even a cold, because his heart might not withstand an illness, and that with a small army of little cousins living in proximity to Gloria’s and running in and out of the house with coughs and runny noses. Fani slept with Gabrielito right next to her in the bed every single night from the time he was born until he had his surgery, afraid his heart would simply stop beating and she wouldn’t know unless he was right there. I think she probably never got a sound night’s sleep herself. I too hope this is an easy and healthy delivery, and that they can continue to grow as a normal, healthy young family.

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