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Resilience

“Knowing that I can climb up the big boulder that felt onto my path, or find a way to go around it, and continue on with my journey, and in the process, to teach and to help others reach the goal”

-Nedelka-

Just a few days ago, November came and I was so excited about it. My journey and my plans continued here in the United States, including many of my Panamenian friends and family.

After 6 long months and many sacrificies, finally, there would be a lifting of many ordinanes related to Cobid 19, and a new, promising start for many dreamers and entrepreneurs in Panama, had just began.

One month to go and we would be done with 2020. I was happy to see the re-opening of my homeland, Panama. There was this collective feeling of “renewal” not only because of the re-opening of so many business and the lifting of so many restrictions due to the Cobid 19, but the excitement about November, which we Panamanians called it “El Mes de la Patria” (The month of the mother land) for so many of my fellow country men and woman of Panama, would be short lived…

And before I write more about what happened, I just want to give you a little bit of explanation on why November is so special for all of us Panamanians.

November is considered the month of the mother land, because of so many historic events that happened, to bring about a free nation. During the whole month, we Panamanians, dress in white, blue and red, which are the colors of the Panamanian flag, to pay respect to all those who fought and died trying to bring freedom to the country. We also honor and pay respect to the national flag, the shield of arms and the national anthem of the republic.

November 3 is independence day from Colombia. November 4 is flag day. November 5 is when the separation from Colombia is re-affirmed in the city of Colon. November 10 is when the first shout out is expressed in “La Villa de Los Santos” seeking independence from Spain. November 28, is the day Panama officially declared its independence from Spain.

As many of you know by now, hurricane Eta hit many Central American countries and its aftermath was so powerful, many little towns and villages are now gone and many people lost their lives. While some areas were not affected at all, directly, there are so many impacted by this, specially because of what is going on with Cobid 19.

There were many towns and villages in Panama that were affected directly by the heavy rains that Eta brought with it, along the many Central American countries it touched. Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Belize. Many of the small towns I lived at and I grew up on were highly impacted with heavy rains that produced muds slides that took everything along its path, including homes and people.

In many other Central American countries, the creeks became rivers and the lake and rivers became oceans and they took everything with them, when they went over their banks an in the process, the floods buried completed small towns and villages. And that was just the beginning of the ordeal, as the hurricane passed and the rain stopped, there are many people trying to rebuild their lives and trying to save others…

Of course this is not the first natural disaster that countries and people have seen and experience, in this scale and in the region and in the world and in Panama, and in the small towns I grew up. This region has experienced devastating loss and extreme natural disasters of all kinds, for hundred of years that are known and who knows for how many years that are not really known to our civilization.

What is different now is the fact this people are not done suffering the impact of Covid 19, and now they have to face a new, difficult challange at the same time. And to do this, it is necesary faith, hope and resilience.

All I know is that right now, at this very moment, millions of people are in desperate need of everything a human being needs to survive and the basic needs that are food, water and shelter. I feel for all these people and I can only imagine how difficult it must be for many, having to deal with this, on top of everything else they had to deal with since Covid 19 came into the picture.

I feel sorry for all these people, and I can only imagine how difficult it must be dealing with this, at the same time thay have been dealing with Covid 19, since it entered the picture.

Many people were already struggling to find a decent place to live, not having an income to provide shelter and food for themselves, or having to depend on others. And many people and businesses that support others have been affected by the floods and the communication have cease and it is not possible due to lack of electricity and all they can do is wait for others that have more resources available such as boats and helicopters and small planes, to either rescue them or to bring them food and water.

However, it is also dangerous for many people to attempt the rescue, until the water resides and the weather is calm and there are no signs of rain in the future. And for that, many days and if not weeks may pass, and so the people that survived will have to help one another with the little resources they have, until the help needed at a greater scale comes.

Many countries have yet to organize and stablish a command center or a website to receive donations from the exterior, mainly, due to problems with logistics and because many places are still flooded, so the situation is very difficult and extremely hard for those that really need help right now.

And here is when I want to speak about resilience and how I can already see it in action, not only in Panama but in all Central America. I see survivors that have lost their homes and their loves ones, and yet, they offer their help in the form of moral support to others and assisting the police and fire fighters in search and rescue efforts. That is resilience.

I see the unity of the people in these moments of tragedy and uncertainty for many. I see people that are very talented such as chefs and people such as vets, traveling from the city and from areas that were not impacted, to offer their free services and to contribute to the welfare of the people and the animals that are being rescued. That is resilience.

I see people donating food, drinking water, clothing, blankets and I see very well known, local artists and public figures creating virtual, musical events, and I see people participating and buying the tickets and the artists donating the complete proceeds to the victims. That is resilience.

I see and I hear and I read daily messages and numerus posts of encouragements from others to each other, to the victims and to the rescuers and to the nation in all social media platforms. That is resilience.

Many people are donating locally, and sharing the little resources they have with others. Many people are unselfishly donating time and money so others can survived and others do not feel abandoned and alone. That is resilience.

I have seen many leaders that place their social duties ahead of their personal interests, and they have make great efforts to garantee the wellbeing and the safety of the ones they serve. That is resilience.

Many people are becoming very creative, trying to find solutions both, short and long term, to clean, to fix, to rebuilt the homes, the towns, the villages, and in the process, they are finding out how powerful of an individual they are and they are also learning in the process that, whatever we can offer for the benefit of others, even if we think it is too small, is so valuable. That is resilience.

There are many people organizing donation centers, and publicly asking others for to support and to donate, and the people are responding quickly. That is resilience.

I have the concept of resilience very well define to me and how I interpret it, however, resilience can have a different meaning for each of us and yet, it is the basic concept. “Not giving up”

In my life, many good people have been a source of inspiration since I had use of my faculties and since I use reasoning. And moments like these and examples of people like I have given before, are the ones that motivate me to want to be a better person every day, and be more like them.

Many of the people affected by the hurricane Eta in Panama are people I have known since I was a little girl and people that taught me great lessons in resilience and continue to teach me great lessons about not giving up.

The people of Panama have always been very resistant and very resilient. November continues to be the month of our mother land, and as such, I know the people of Panama, the people of the highly affected areas of the floods, will raise up and they will overcome this difficult situation. I know we will because we, collectively and as a nation have done it so many times. And I know it because the response the people have been given so far.

And for the rest of the people of Central America, we share so many similarities and resilience is one of them. You are already taking action and you will raise up and we will see our beautiful countries flourish once again. The rain is starting to stop and the beautiful rainbows are appearing in the horizon along with the sun. God is with all of you.

You have showing me so much resilience so far and you are an example for me to emulate and to follow, even in this difficult times you do not lose hope and you are grateful to God and that is profound and that brings me to my knees and it keeps me humble, knowing that the human spirt, yours, is strong, resistant and resilient, and it gives me hope, mine can also be like that.

I know I am far away and I cannot offer a lot of help and support, but what little I can contribute, I will. And I hope for anyone reading this entry, that wants to and can, please, support not only Panama but all other Central America countries affected.

All of them require and will require financial help for a long time to come, but mainly help and support with food, water, clothing, shoes, hygene products, blankets, and first aid kits.

We, the Centralamericans and Latinamericans that live in this great nation of the Unied States of America, that came here after we were raised in our own countries, we know how hard the daily life is in our countries, therefore, we can only imagine how difficult it must be now, for all of our Central American brothers and sisters.

For us here in the United States, November is a month to give thanks and to count our blessings, and to be generous, and hopefully many can contribute to the wellfare of our Central American brothers and sisters that need and will need so much from us.

Keep up to date to know about legitimate and acredited organizations, where donations can be made, to reach those that need it. Do not click any links to donate money. You should go only to the website of the acredited organization or agency.

December is also approaching, and for many of us, this is a month to be generous, to give and to share, and it can be the moment we make a difference and we can cause a great impact in the life of someone or many.

I hope all of you are protected. You are out of danger, and you have resilience in your life.

-Nedelka-