Panama is sucking the life out of me. I have no idea how I have made it this long living here. It was only going to be for a few years and things got way off track. There is no logic in this country and no compassion. It feels soul-less, cold and uncaring. Yet I am still here, gutting it out.

I stand waiting for clerks and judges and attorneys to do what they say they are going to do. Mostly they say this or that will happen and of course it doesn’t. Am I surprised? No, but I am exhausted by the lies and the unnecessary bureaucracy.

I’m calling this story 9 stamps because of the most recent document that took 3 attorneys, a judge and a bank to push through the system( yet it’s still not complete). On this document there are 9 stamps and 8 signatures. This is one document and it took over a month to get to the end. Only to be told that it will be another 45 days before it’s over.

In the mean time I find it hard to breath and even harder to believe that I am putting up with the in humanity of it all. It started by me defaulting on a loan (not on purpose) due to the ever-increasing cost of living here in Panama (where it’s supposed to be more affordable…unless you are white and not from here). Yet I kept going on with the business and trying to communicate with the bank involved. I would call and try to speak to them in their language and they would hang up. I would call back and they would hang up.

The bank was taken over by another bank and there was of course no notification of this happening. It just happened and I tried to call again. Same thing, I would call and they would hang up. In the mean time I was trying to sell my home due to the fact my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I knew it would get worse and she needed help. I had enough of this country by this time. I had a buyer but they backed out. I tried to tell the bank what was happening and they didn’t want to hear it. I was dismissed as an annoyance. Even though it is a law here that there should be at least one English-speaking person in each banking institution. More lies.

Finally I have a couple interested since last June and I contacted the bank to let them know and they said they would hold proceedings. Another lie. They did not, and apparently once in a system in Panama its like trying to rid yourself of a massive spider web. It’s not about money when it’s in the system. It’s about power and position. Nobody wants to take the money they want the opportunity to use the stamp.

In the mean time Alzheimer’s waits for no one. It took 12 days for the bank to give me a current balance due (I was of course charged extra because I am not from here. I call that walking while white.). It looked like something a 12-year-old child had written up. I try to do the right thing here but this is a country where the right thing isn’t always the way to move forward.

I am trying to get traction in a place without stability. It has taken everything in my entire being to stick it out. So now we find ourselves during another holiday time. Everyone wants to take a vacation and be with their families.  Alzheimer’s is still progressing because it doesn’t care. This is supposed to be a time for gratitude, yet I have a hard time finding things to be grateful for. Panama has stolen time from me and time from my mother. They have stolen my right to be there for her and they don’t care.

How can I sit in gratitude when I am buried by selfish behavior in a culture that looks at the color of my skin and glares at me in the grocery line, or on the street. I see the looks and have ignored them for more than 5 years now. I have been many places where my skin is the lightest on the bus or in the stores, but never have I experienced the level of hate as that of Panama. There has, in 5 years time, been only one business person who says what she means and means what she says. I will not name her but I will say that if it wasn’t for her stepping in as liaison, well I just don’t know if could handle anymore. I am grateful for her.

So I suppose I am grateful to be here to experience yet another stamp(not). I will continue to breathe in and out until I can’t. Hopefully I will out of here and this will fade as just another bad dream. If I am lucky I will be there in time for my mom. I have always thought of the world as a place to experience as much as you can. Give what you can help who you can and move on. Not here. Not ever.