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Ramone. Oh, where to begin about this sweet soul of a man!
Living about a 15 minute walk from the valley, Ramone, the REAL jungle cowboy, is a one of a kind human being. He takes daily trips down to base camp just to say “Buena”, and sometimes comes barring with gifts. Ramone lives with his older brother Dario who is also as sweet as can be.
No one really knows the age of Ramone, so we all just assume he’s about 65. But,talk about a beast of a 65 year old! The first experience I had in the valley, he was nestled in a tree on the Honeycreeper Trail whispering one of the director’s name. It was kind of creepy at first, until he jumped out of the tree and lead us to the top of the trail. Last time I climbed a tree in the valley, I fell out! The way this man moves is unreal.
Kalu Yala became friends with these campesinos years ago. They have been hired to help out around camp in the past to help build the ranchos we sleep in and currently help us machete all the grass around the property. What takes us about 4 days to cut down, Ramone can finish in about 6 hours. Not only do they do work for the company, Ramone and Dario have welcomed us to their home.
Ramone’s house is your typical indigenous home of Panama, his roof is made of palm leaves, the floor is cemented sand, the chicken coops are built from hand woven baskets and are also shared by the horse stable, and last but not least is home to his parrot. This guy has been around in Ramone’s family for about 22 years. Not only is he the cutest talking parrot, he flies away every winter to warmer areas of Central America and returns back to Ramone’s in the summer. One of the best things about visiting Ramone and Dario is watching them climb at least 50 feet up their palm tree to get everyone coconuts. I wasn’t a fan of coconuts until I had a fresh one straight off the tree, talk about refreshing.
When I leave Panama, I am truly going to miss this man. Even though I can’t speak a lick of Spanish, I can still understand what he is trying to say. He has a great soul and has really created a strong bond with my fellow interns and especially our directors.
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