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Published: March 22nd 2006
Bob Finally lets loose!
Chitre is well known for the wonderful masks that are made there. It is said that Chitre has the best carnivales and festivals in Panama. This is a typical mask worn by the dancers during the parades. Bob does his best to look scary. Greg tells us that his snores alone are scary enough!
The next morning Bob and I woke up to a hearty breakfast of hojaldras. Hojaldras are "Panamanian donuts"..a flattened piece of dough deep fried and served hot. They were delicious!
I also want to say that all of the Panama Rotarians were wonderful hosts. In David all seven members of our team was brought into club members homes where we spent two nights. We were all very well fed and made to feel like a part of their family. It always is a great experience being home hosted because we were able to get to know the wonderful people of Panama even better. At the meeting the night before they made all of our team honorary Chiriquis by giving us a Chiriqui passports.
We all loaded on the bus and traveled from David to Santiago. In Santiago we were met by Rotarians from Chitre. Chitre is is the capital of the Herrera Province and is the largest city on the Azuero Peninsula. Chitre is a vibrant city of 42,000 and you could feel an energy in the air as we drove through the streets full of markets and shops. We were told that Chitre is home to the best
Meeting with the Department of Health
The Chitre Club has worked closely with the area health minister to identify projects for funding. Here we are reviewing one of the projects the District 5710 major grant is providing funds for.
Carnaval festivities in Panama and the area is sometimes described as the soul of Panama. We saw several shops where you can buy the diablo masks. There was also some very nice clothing made with a unique stitch.
The Chitre Rotarians have been working very closely with the area health ministers to identify water projects and other humanitarian projects that Rotary can help with. We met with the health minister of the Herrera Province. We went over the project at Potreros de los Llanos de Ocu. This project is one listed on the the District 5710 major grant.
We then travleled to Los Santos. Los Santos is a city just accross the river from Chitre. It is home to Anita Moreno Azuero Regional Hospital, the largest hospital in the area. We met with the administrator of the hospital and he explained that they serve a population of 300,000. We went to the carditric unit and we saw that basically all of their heart equipment does not work. So, if you travel here, you should try and stay calm and not excert yourself. If you survive the initial attack, for those that can afford it, you would be transfered
Meeting with the Department of Health Los Santos Province
We also met with the area director of health in the Los Santos Province.
to a hospital in Panama City. The sad part is that they are staffed by really competent doctors and nurses. They just simply do not have the basic equipment that we take for granted in our hospitals. We hope to contact hospitals in Kansas and try to collect equipment that they would be surplusing. Anything that works would be greatly appreciated at the hospital. Specifically they are looking for mechanic beds, pulse oximeter, electrocardiogram machine, defibriallator, pacemakers, central monitors, pressure vent, arterial gases analysis machine, fluoroscope, color echocardiograph, gastric suction, oro-pharynx suction. If you have one of these, please drop us a line.
We then drove to the Universidad Tecnologica de Panama. It is one of several campuses of the University. They have several really exciting things going on. Several of their engineers have designed a chlorination system using pvc piping and a month-long supply of chlorine. They can produce it for around $40 and is really easy to run. Another engineer has developed a low-cost solar supply system. I asked them if they could combine this power supply with a small pump that could provide a pump system for those villages we have visited without power. They seemed
Los Santos Hospital Administrator
Here the administrator of the Los Santos Hospital is explaining about the lack of equipment in the cario ward.
really interested in this problem and will begin a project to see what they can produce. The great thing about the university is that they will actually go into the field to train people and follow-up to make sure the equipment is working. This would be a really low-cost solution to several of the projects we have looked at. I contacted the Panama South club to have them follow-up with the Chitre club because the Embera Indian village and the El Picador village could possibly benefit from what they are doing here.
We drove back to Chitre and taken to a radio station. The station has a very popular call-in program about what is going on in Panama. They interviewed Wes and they explained what Rotary International is and what we have been doing in Panama. We were there for quite a while and they spoke a lot....in Spanish. So I couldn't really tell you what they said for sure. I was just happy that the Panama-Cuba baseball game was on in the background. I am sorry to say that Panama lost in extra innings.
In the evening we joined the Chitre Rotary club for dinner and a
Despite lack of quality equipment, the staff and nurses provide the best care in the area.
meeting. They had a teacher who had just returned from a teacher exchange through a Wichita, Kansas Rotary club. She told about her experience in Kansas and how it was a great experience. It was a great time in Chitre and I hope we can spend more time there in future years. They are a great club and again, do so much with so few of members.
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