Panama 2017: End in Sight

Several years ago my friend, Dr. Marilyn Aten, fell in love with Mari’s daughter Harlennys on a visit to Panama and wanted to send her to university. Marilyn put up a good bit of the money herself, and then asked other Panama guests that we both held in common as friends to pitch in too. The college fund was created.

Harlennys got badly derailed by an unintended pregnancy, and it’s been a bit rocky since. In the meantime, Marilyn died of cancer. She was a nurse educator and researcher, and the topic of teen pregnancy was familiar to her. I would have liked her guidance about what to do. Without that, I’ve had to use my best judgment as to what Marilyn would have wanted.

Without going into detail out of respect for this family’s privacy, I’m happy to say that all signs indicate that Harlennys will finish her program in public accounting in June, and that she will be part of a formal graduation in December. Kudos to her mother, Mari, for supporting her daughter through what has been a difficult and sometimes disappointing time as they grappled with young adult choices. And kudos to Harlennys, who has gone forward inch by inch, and will now graduate. She is a wonderful role model for her little girl, and I am very proud of her. Marilyn’s faith in Harlennys has been affirmed, and I wish my friend could be here with us in December to celebrate.





2 thoughts on “Panama 2017: End in Sight

  1. Harlennys and Mari are wonderful examples of what women can do when they are empowered. Harlennys is a living tribute to Marilyn. What a wonderful gift she gave. It will have a positive impact on generations to come!

  2. You can imagine how hard this has been.Turns out Mama was much more on target about the young man than Harlennys, who is still with him more or less. But she’s found a way to continue with her studies, and the end is in sight.Marilyn saw something in her, and didn’t want her to have the life of a maid or cleaner, but something more. Now she will. Marilyn mentored many young nurses during her career. But her gift to Harlennys has been life changing.

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