For over seven months I have been stranded in Canada due to COVID-19.
But now that flights are allowed, I am anxious to return finally to my house in my beloved adopted country Panama.
I have been following the situation in Panama closely while I’ve been away, and once again the little isthmus has made me proud.
All news seems to be about the pandemic… but, in Panama, life and productive activity continue.
Here are some things that have caught my attention these past months I’ve been watching from a distance…
Coffee Is Still King
Once again Panama has set a new world record for the price of a pound of specialty geisha coffee with international coffee buyers… US$1,300.50 per pound, outdoing last year’s record of US$1,229.
On The Right Track To Become An Eco-Friendly Nation
On another front, MiBus is planning the purchase of 195 medium-sized electric buses for Panama City routes as an ongoing plan to gradually replace the current fleet of buses using fossil fuels. These buses will reduce operating and maintenance costs as well as environmental impact.
Helping To Eradicate Polio In Africa
Newsroom Panama has also reported: “This week the world reached a milestone that it has been striving to obtain for decades. The African continent has been declared polio free. In 1985 350,000 African people, mostly children, suffered from or died from this horribly debilitating disease.”
Now, thanks mostly to Rotary International, the disease has been eradicated, beginning in Nigeria, and Panama had direct participation in these achievements. For years this country has been an important center for vaccine research, invited by the Gates Foundation to participate in its global vaccine development program.
Panama And The COVID-19 Vaccine
In a similar vein, the Regional Logistics Center for Humanitarian Assistance has set up 1,200 square meters of cold room space to become a distribution center for the COVID-19 vaccine in this country. All necessary protocols and training of staff are in place. Alberto Sierra, the executive director of the Ministry of Government has stated, “The plan is ready and we are just waiting for the vaccine to support its distribution.”
People Are Back To Work
There’s also excellent news for the Minera Cobre Panama. The copper and gold mining project was recently verified. At least half of the 3,500 workers at the Cobre mine will be back on the job, complying with strict hygiene and health protocols. This is a welcome development, as the mine is a major provider of employment and a leading contributor to the Panamanian economy.
The Panama Canal Reached A Milestone
Finally, what’s been going on with the Panama Canal throughout the global pandemic?
In August, theSK Resolutetransporting liquid natural gas to China became the 10,000th vessel to pass through the expanded canal locks.
Canal administrator Ricaurte Vásquez observed that, “Reaching this mark just over four years after the opening of the expanded canal reaffirms the competitiveness of this interoceanic highway, backed by the continuous, safe, and reliable service that we have maintained in the midst of the current world situation.”
Panama is small yet spunky. Forward thinking yet cautious when necessary.
And thriving, even in the face of pandemic adversity.
I’m very proud to call it home.