"Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which all loveliness arises." -Pedro Calderon de la Barca.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Writer's Workshop: CocoSolo- Then & Now

Coco Solo circa 1983, already not what it was in it's splendor

I have been really struggling inside since I saw this video a friend posted on facebook.   It is a video of  people living in Coco Solo, the town I consider to be my childhood home.  I'll post it last, you'll understand why in a minute.

Me and My brother with our pups

Growing up we moved quite a bit, and Coco Solo was the longest I'd ever lived anywhere until my adulthood.   We lived there from my 2nd grade year until they closed the neighborhood to Americans, when I was going into 7th grade.  I graduated from Coco Solo elementary, went to junior high there and returned my senior year to graduate from Cristobal High

(which is in Coco Solo.)

Coco Solo Elementary

It was a magical place to be a kid. 

The entire peninsula had been built on coral reefs long ago (in the 1920's I think) and jutted out into the bay with water so deep you could see schools of tuna swimming by you if you stood on the breaker wall. The flat fields were perfectly manicured.
Wonderful for flying kites and Christmas tree bonfires, and kickball games.
Mango trees and almond trees waited for kids to climb up into.
Parrots flocked to them and ate heartily on the fat juicy fruit. 

We lived across the street from the elementary school, the last house before the ocean.


I moved back to Panama my senior year of college.  (I was a Latin American studies major in Arkansas and realized how dumb that was since my family was in Latin America.)  While finishing college there I saw the changes.  All the American neighborhoods that had been Pan Canal Commission had long since been turned over.  Only two military bases on the Atlantic side remained.  Many people were unemployed and the drug culture/gangs was taking a firm hold on the people.  People shunned Atlantic- siders when they would apply for jobs on the Pacific Side, because of their skin color or just because they were from Colón, I don't know. 

It's been 17 years since I left and obviously things have only gotten worse.

Here is the video. 

I want to help.

I don't know how.
*Reposting this from 11/18/09 for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Mama's Losin' It


Jackie said...

It looks like it was a beautiful place to grow up. It's sad how quickly it changed though!
Have you figured out a way to help?

Jenna said...

wow that is so sad. I wish there was something we could do...

alicia said...

I'm sorry. That is so hard to watch, I'm sure more so when you have emotional connections and memories there.

I also want to thank you for your kind comment over my way today. It really meant a lot to me. It's nice to know that I'm not alone.

Hang in there.

Tarunita said...

I'm so sorry...Wish I could do something to help.
I am your newest follower
Thanks for sharing!


eof777 said...

Hi there,
This is a bitter sweet story and one happening in many parts of the world. It is sad to have memories of a lush and gorgeous place only to see mayhem take over. Hold onto your memories as that is the country you remember and one day it will turn around for all.
For some reason, I thought we were already connected on Google because I have always admired your gravatar... such beautiful colors. I am following you again on my Blogger Blog.
I stopped by from MamaKat's Writing Workshop; I wrote on 5 summer images and could use some feedback. Thank you!
Have a great weekend!
Ps. The video didn't load. May I get a link to it from you as I do want to see it? Thanx

panamamama said...

Elizabeth, were you watching it on a phone or RSS? I know I can see it on my computer, but my mom can't on her RSS feed (email.) My hubby said it's in a flash player so won't work on an iPhone. Here's the URL: http://vimeo.com/7212201

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