agroforestry

Part 6 Happy Anniversary to Joaquín + Urita

Part 6 Happy Anniversary to Joaquín + Urita

Piedras Gordas, Panama— 31 years ago, amidst the festivities of patronales in Santa Marta, Panama, Urita and Joaquín first met. Saint Martha, is the patron saint of the small town where Urita was born and raised. Every year, Saint Martha is celebrated on July 29, during patronales.

People from all over had come to celebrate, play music, and feast. If you’ve ever attended a patronales celebration, the sounds of salomas (Panamanian shouts), the colors of the polleras (skirts), and the smells of bollos de maiz nuevo (sweet corn tamales) will already be familiar to you. Imagine a town full of flowers and bursts of color—everyone wearing their best hats, blouses, and earrings, dressed to the nines (including Urita and Joaquín).

Part 5 Climate Change Comes to Piedras Gordas

Part 5 Climate Change Comes to Piedras Gordas

“As a farmer, one of the effects of global warming I’ve noticed is how this once abundant brook has lost so much of its volume. It used to have many different species like shrimp, bream, and sardines. You can see how low it is now. The life it had is gone.

So, what do I want to say about this? We’re worried. The challenge for us is that we have to care for the planet. This affects all of us—children, teenagers, adults, and older people like me…we’re all in trouble."

Parakeets and All

It had been six years since I last visited Isabel’s farm and I didn’t know what to expect. The sound of rocks scraping the bottom of the rental car had gotten worse since picking up three additional passengers. After thirty minutes of jolting along the dusty road, I was relieved when we had to walk the last quarter mile. The hedge of hibiscus preceding the path to Isabel’s house looked the same, but the farm beyond looked less abundant than I remembered. I began to worry that our efforts had been in vain.