Capitánes, Towing, Quinceañera, Hamacas, Egyptian Prince & More

Two weeks has flown by! When we first moved here people said, “the days go by slow but the weeks go by fast.” This is totally true!

We are short on time this blog posting but will be posting a couple of announcements soon along with ways to help here in Panama.  Pack your bags… or unpack your wallets.  ;)

And here we go…


The kids love playing in the water, ocean or creek, they are searching for starfish, shrimp, Jesus lizards, stingrays, crabs and all sorts of other creatures.


Ellie has become quite the swimmer, boater, fruit picker, canoer, tropical girl.

Ethan goes anywhere and pets everything, yes everything.  Although right now its about killing every bug he spots, yelling “yea” with his hands straight up and then grabbing a paper towel to clean it up and putting it in the “sura” – basura (garbage).

The girls really watch out for each other.  Sisters.

There it is, the Bella pose.



He’s quite a bit more cautious since falling into the pool at the hotel across the bay.



Boat repair time.  Epoxy, fiberglass, sanding, grinding and painting.


The girls love dressing up and dressing Ethan up.  He tries to play the part with each change.

Did you see it?  Bella, posing, again.


A little too much to drink… water that is.

I took a load of roofing tin to the nearby village, moving Tibu off of our property.  Shirlene came with me.  The village is quite the mud pit.


This is the village bathroom.  A hut over the creek which then flows by the houses.

Stray dogs are everywhere on the islands, super skinny, its rare you see one that isn’t showing all of it’s ribs.



This is the schoolhouse.  We are working with them, teaching repairs, clean water, cooking, etc.  We are hoping to identify a man of peace in this village – this is our goal in each village.  The chief is Pedro Santo, we are on good terms with him and some of his 20 sons, yes 20.


Termites are everywhere although they are not hard to get rid of, you just knock down there home and scrape away the trails.  But, preventative maintenance is rare here.

This is the school kitchen / cafeteria.




I love my Bella.


The kids wanted hammocks.




Bella gives Ethan rides in the laundry basket, literally for hours.  Shirlene mentioned she thinks Bella has actually gotten skinnier from all of this labor intensive exercise.  Boy does Ethan love his rides.













Tickle fight.




Taking the canoe out as a family around the mangrove islands.  What an amazing place we live.  Beutiful birds, coral, fish and waters.







Our Ngobe neighbor and friend’s daughter had a birthday and like many of the Ngobe they do not know how to make a cake and typically will buy a cake.  But many of the Ngobe also have no money, so they cannot.  Shirlene baked this cake for the family and they family ate the whole cake in one sitting.  Simon, the dad, brought back the pan and said thank you, very much, he said it was very good and only gave him a little diarrhea.  Yes, I am not kidding.


Visiting a local eco-lodge called the Dolphin Bay Hide Away.  Neat place.





Quinceanera for Gene’s daughter.  Gene is a Ngobe pastor on San Cristobal island.  We are close with his family.


Gene’s family: Enith, Daniel, Gene (Augustine), Yaravis, Augustine.

Yaravis and Ethan.  All of the Ngobe women LOVE Ethan!  They pick him up constantly and as long as they distract him with food he will stay in their arms otherwise you got to know when to hold him and know when to walk away.




Awesome food!  I love Panamanian food, rice, chicken, lamb, salad and about 17 desserts they kept bringing out.


Gene shared about how God has protected and his daughter.  Then Gene’s brother, who is running for mayor in Bocas, shared.

Then Gene’s dad.

Then Yaravis.

Then Gene’s wife.

Then another boat arrived fashionably 3 hours late, which is about right for any Panamanian party.

Black trash bags are in here.



Kids playing in the boats.


Gene’s house in the background.

Cooking going on in the bodega (shed).


Beautiful feet and beautiful hardwood flooring from the jungle.






Gene took two weeks to build this building.  He is starting a restaurant and promised his daughter it would be done before her birthday.  He finished it the day before.  Its awesome!








We towed Terry and Liz’s boat to Mario’s place because the engine had a major problem.  In the end the engine is not repairable.


During heavy rainstorms the water catchment from the roof which supplies us with our water will pour out of the top of the tanks.  Amazing rain here in the rain forest.




The neighboring Ngobe village’s dock.  Santiago’s village.  I have spent quite a bit of time over there.  They absolutely love listening to the Ngobe audible Bible.  I only have two so I rotate it around between families.


Another trip around the mangrove islands in Terry’s dinghy with the 3hp motor.

Our house from the dinghy as we leave.

Panama passed a law requiring all boat drivers to get a driver’s license.  Since we’re gringos we really have to follow the law because the laws here are created in order to generate revenue, mainly from gringos.  So, we paid the $168 license fee for gringos ($18 for Panamanian) and took the all day captain’s course.  The class was from 9am-3pm, but we’ve been learning and showed up around 11am, and sure enough the class hadn’t started, I honestly love it!  This day the weather was CRAZY!  It was pouring so and the sea had 4 foot waves, we took our “practical” in this, which by the way, there is no fail on the practical.  ;)




During the heavy downpour this boat began to sink.  This is one of Wild Bill’s boats confiscated at the police station.  He is the American that killed quite a few other people down here and took their houses, cash, boats, etc.










We are blessed with AMAZING sunsets.

Kathrin came to say goodbye on her way back home to Germany.

Ok, gotta run!





  1. Mom - Nancy Wood
    Aug 12, 2012

    LOVE the update and ALL the photos!!! I’m always so happy to see your blogs. Looks like everyone is having fun and enjoying the adventure. Love and miss each of you too much though.

  2. Andilee
    Aug 13, 2012

    Thanks for the quick update. I absolutely loved seeing the pics of you all. Miss you and love you guys mucho. :-)

  3. Jennifer
    Aug 15, 2012

    Great update on the goings on…although I am anxious to know the upcoming announcements. How long do we have to wait?
    Gene’s place turned out great! The roofing is really cool.
    Isaac says that he misses you guys and can’t wait to be down there with you!

  4. Lucy
    Aug 17, 2012

    OMG!!! When Ethan dress up looks just like bella when she was a baby :) They all are good kids and so cute!! Keep praying for Panama! Revival is coming!!

    • Alice Mathis
      Aug 17, 2012

      I love seeing your pictures and seeing how God is using you guys. You are in my prayers.

  5. Will & Liz
    Sep 3, 2012

    We miss you guys so much. You are often in our thoughts and prayers. Ethan is soooo big! Keep him growling and putting his arms up.

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