Panama 2017: Baby Aliah at 5 Months

Five month old Aliah — the child of Gloria and Luis’s middle son Gabriel and Fani — is healthy and thriving. Gloria is thrilled to have another grandbaby, and she proudly sent me this picture.

Rural Panamanians invest a great deal of hope in the birth of each new child, and shower them with love. Village culture is stressed in other ways — the easy availability of drugs, and the fact that cheap junk food like soda and chips is creating an obesity problem — but the core value of family remains intact. I can’t wait to meet Aliah when I’m there next January.

The life cycle in Panama is very different from here. Gloria’s two older grandchildren are about the same ages as Archie and Else, but Gloria is a grandmother in her mid-40’s, as opposed to my being 72. Minga is a great-grandmother many times over, and could conceivably live to be a great-great grandmother.

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