Photo © 2008 – Panama – Leo D. Redmond

The beans, handpicked and slow roasted, are taken from the fire and set in a large wooden bowl to cool. The inescapable aroma of coffee permeates the highlands of tropical Panama. Served strong, dark and sweet, coffee is more than a hot beverage to get the morning started. Offered to all visitors, it is a mark of hospitality, an invitation for intimacy, and the Jimenez family brews an impeccable cup. Here Kayme picks through the cooling beans, adding anise leaves, snatching up the best ones to pop in her mouth. Soon, the beans will be ground, pressed, and shared by all.

PANAMA

Panama/Republica de Panama
Southernmost country in Central America, bordered by Caribbean & Pacific Ocean, Colombia & Costa Rica; central spine of mountains & hills form continental divide; famous for canal; 75,420 km2 (slightly < SC), 7% arable.

Capital Panama City (pop est. 0.5M)
Population 3.5M (161.3/km2)
Life expectancy 78 years
HIV/AIDS 0.9%
Literacy 92%
Lang(s) Spanish (official), English (many Panamanians bilingual)
Religions Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%
Ethnic Groups mestizo 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, white 10%, Amerindian 6%
Gov’t Constitutional Democracy
GDP/cap $12,700
PCVs 1963-71; 1990-present, economic development, environmental education, agroforestry (Volunteers in country: 204; total to date: 1,928)
Nat’l holiday Independence Day, 3 November (1903)

 

Focus word for 2012 - "Freedom"

Spanish: Libertad (li-burr-todd)

 

Books

Hands of the Rain Forest: The Emberá: People of Panama
by Rachel Crandell
Book Description
A first-hand account of an indigenous group whose way of life (using resources from the rain forest to meet most of their subsistence needs) has largely withstood the forces of economic development.

 

Kids' Books

Grannie jus' come!
by Ana Sisnett; pictures by Karen Lusebrink
Publisher: Children's Book Press, c1997
ISBN-13: 978-0-89239-150-9
Interest Level: K-3
Ages 6 - 9

 

Music

Ruben Blades
Music from Panama

 

Films

The Tailor of Panama, John Boorman (2001)

 

Recipes

Carimanolas/Deep-fried stuffed Yucca balls
Sopa Borracha/Rum cake