Buenos Vecinos de Boquete


Family of the Month

October 2020 Benjamin

Benjamin is a spry seventy-eight year old. Small and wiry, he still works a little garden every day. As a widower he now cooks his own meals and washes his own clothes, but he does have the companionship of his brother and sister who own the property where he has been able to build a modest casita and create this garden. They live only a few yards away and all of these siblings enjoy the time they spend together.

Several years ago Benjamin owned a small property where he raised a few livestock and some vegetables. Then a relative successfully convinced Benjamin to co-sign a bank note to underwrite a business venture. Unfortunately, the venture failed, the bank called the loan and demanded the collateral, Benjamin’s little farm.

Despite the loss of his wife and his farm Benjamin is still grateful for what he has; the garden produces enough food for his family’s use and a little more to sell down in the village. The hour walk down the mountain each week also gives him the opportunity to visit a grown daughter who lives there. Combined with the very modest pension Panamanians receive from the government when they turn seventy years old, he is able to meet most of his expenses. The non-perishable food he receives from Buenos Vecinos each month adds just what he needs to complete his pantry; he says, “Yo tengo bastante, Gracias!” “I have enough, thank you!”

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