Here are a few more pics of the visit from Gloria’s family.
The culture has really changed here since the Peace Corps days in the 1960’s, in ways that are mostly for good. [The spread of the drug culture and petty crime to fund it in the rural villages is a notable exception.] In the late 1960’s, Roberto Delgado’s five small children might have starved before he would have cooked them a meal, or bathed them, or changed a diaper or comforted a hurt child or put a child to bed. That was all Minga’s work. Now, Luis does all of that for his eight month old, as do Raul and Gabriel for their children. Gabriel and Fani are separated; Gabriel works as part of the Presidential detail in Panama City during the week and a half day on Saturday. When he comes to the village, he stays with Gloria and Luis, whose house is right next to Fani and the children, but Gabriel takes care of the kids all weekend to allow Fani to work and to give her mother, the normal caregiver, a break. Raul gets his daughter, five year old Milenys, every 15 days, and is elated at being her caregiver. He’d like her more, but his relationship with the child’s mother is fraught. He’s tried to get custody, but his kidney disease weighs against his case. He was very premature, and being fed weak tea when they had no milk for him damaged his kidneys. He’s down to about 20% kidney function, and he’s not yet 30. Here, you can’t get on a transplant list until you are on dialysis for quite some while and your situation is dire. Milenys’ mother is physically healthy, so right now she has the edge.
I love seeing these young men with their children. I also love that Fani and Lynette, sisters-in-law, are allies and supporters of each other, as well as friends. Luis and his father, Luis, are the day to day male influences for all the kids, and Gloria and Fani and Lynette all pitch in when any of the little ones is in need of something.