Volcan is the heart of the agricultural region of Chiriquí, and our province/district/county (not sure which) is known as the breadbasket of Panamá. You can smell the pesticides from the heavy applications as you drive on the highway.
Here are two images from the Volcan area that I'll use in the show. This first one shows the patchwork fields on the slopes of Volcan Baru near the village of Guadalupe. I think Guadalupe is the highest occupied place in the country, for it is above Cerro Punta, which bills itself as the highest place. It is the stopping-off point for Finca Dracula, site of over 2,500 species of orchids. And it's the gateway to the nesting area for the rare Resplendent Quetzal, the royal bird of the Aztecs and the national bird of Guatemala.
If you look closely, you can see the indigenous people's huts right in the fields where the pesticides are applied. My speciality is children's environmental health. I've seen the indigenous children coming home from school. It's difficult not to get involved in this issue, but as an extrañera I must not. Raising a stink over this issue could put the entire agricultural industry of the country at risk. I am torn up about this: are sick children a reasonable price to pay for their families to have jobs? While the easy solution would be to move the families' huts away from the fields, this is not necessarily the best because the indigenous people don't have their own transportation. As it is now, they must walk up and down the hills. Moving their huts would make them have to walk even more.
I'll continue to think about this issue, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy the image just for its esthetic value:
Here is another recent image for the show. I've been looking for a good shot of a calla lily, a flower so important to Georgia O'Keeffe and Imogene Cunningham (a pioneer of fine art photography). This image of a purple one at Finca Dracula finally caught my eye after working up all the other images from the trip. I love how the curve of the leaf in the left background plays off the curve at the bottom of the bloom, and the tip of a leaf on the right echoes the bottom of the flower. Hope you like it too:
|Finca Dracula: Purple Calla Lily|
May your days be blessed, as mine have been. Blessings are like beauty: they are always there. You just need to see them.