I’m headed to Panama on Tuesday, to see Minga and her family and perhaps help sort out a path for the future. Seattle is going to have a rainy week. Panama City is going to have a drenching rainy week with thunderstorms — November is the rainiest month of the wet season, which lasts from June to mid-December. I haven’t been to Panama in November for a long time. Back in the Peace Corps days, rainy season meant mud everywhere, standing water, an increase in mosquitoes, dense, damp air, and constantly sweaty bodies. The moisture load in the air was too much for our sweat to evaporate, so our cotton clothes got soggy and stayed that way. We wore sneakers — leather shoes didn’t hold up — and muddy water leaked in, along with tiny parasites that could work their way through the thin skin between our toes.
This visit won’t be like that, and I don’t expect to be going to Rio Hato at all. The hotel is air conditioned, although we’ll turn off the air in Minga’s room because she’ll be freezing. Panama City is a large, mostly modern city; the water management system drains everything into the Bay of Panama, or at least tries to. There may be standing water in some of the poorest neighborhoods, but not where I’m going to be.
I’ll go with Minga to her dialysis appointments, which will give me a firsthand sense of what she may be experiencing. She and I will have lots of time to talk.
This is new for me — being present to someone who is battling an illness that can end her life. Most of my loved ones who are gone died very suddenly.
Will keep you with me as I walk through this.