Introduced as guest speaker at the September meeting was Vicky Whittle, now residing in Mangawhai but for the last six years in Panama. Having formerly worked as an interior designer in Auckland she opted for change which saw her join a volunteer network based in Wellington and offer service in Panama.
The closest town to where she was based was David, where temperatures ranged between 19 and 28 degrees, lush vegetation abounded, and rainbows were prevalent often in double and treble form.
Framed by the Pacific Ocean and Panama Canal, the city of Panama has grown rapidly with considerable business interests from both the USA and UK. Whilst supporting many multi-millionaires the disparity between rich and poor is very evident.
Video clips gave a broad overview of modern office blocks, skyscrapers, condo complexes as well as historical sites, markets, resorts and beaches. Views from the Canal were screened but even with six new locks to allow transit of container ships, the Canal is not large enough to handle super cruise liners.
Images narrated by Vicky took members through Boquete where a number of charity organisations operate. Part of the fundraising programme involves auctions calling for considerable input from volunteers.
Time in Boquete saw Vicky caring for dogs, the physical condition of which was frequently disturbing. Involvement with local schools to give children the opportunity to react with rescued birds and animals also saw them become familiar with the care and wellbeing of dogs.
Vicky related how she went for a swim at an hour when, she later discovered, crocodiles also take a dip!
Aloutta Lodge, an animal rescue centre of 20 landscaped acres and 20 in a natural state was Vicky’s next destination where she conducted tours as well as caring for animals. The hut accommodation occupied by Vicky (lined in its entirety with “wire wove” to deter insects) and various breeds of monkeys in interesting postures such as “wrapping” themselves around their caregiver, were among further video clips. Vicky was pleased to say that all of the monkeys handled by her were eventually rehabilitated to the wild.
Want to know more about Mangawhai Combined Rebus Club? Meet every third Thursday of the month in the Senior Citizens’ Hall, Fagan Place, Mangawhai Heads at 2pm. Visitors welcome. Contact Gaylene Lawrence 431 5617 or Beve Smith 431 5777 for more details.