Having spent the past few weeks in the valley with Ramon and Dario has certainly been full of surprises. Admiring the vast skill set of Panamanian campesinos makes any outsider feel inferior. Whenever Dario, Jorge, or Ramon would pull out a machete and start hacking away at brush or palm, many of us in the valley would stop and become mesmerized by the artwork created before our eyes.
For this blog I thought a great way to educate would be to highlight the primary skills an individual needs in order to become a suitable Panamanian campesino.
Numero Uno: Love Your Animals
As seen in the image above, Ramon cares for his animals down to the very last chicken. They are free to roam wherever they please which keeps them healthy and happy. Among the numerous chicken’s seen in the photo, Ramon and Dario raise a pig, and several cows all of which live a happy and free lives. The simple pleasures Ramon and Dario allow their animals to live by are all part of being a successful Panamanian campesino.
Numero Dos: Have a Unique way to Heard Your Cattle:
Ramon and Dario’s most prized possession is there astounding pet Parrot. This amazing parrot has lived for 25 years and if you were to hear her cattle call you would think it sounded similar to a child screaming (no joke). You cannot be a successful Panamanian campesino without a unique pet, it is a must.
Ramon’s number one hobby is weaving matettes (baskets). Ramon especially loves to do so when teaching a large group of gringos, those of which have never seen such a skill. Without any proper basket weaving skills, campesino life is not for you.
Numero Quatro: You must climb trees!
Numero Cinco: Don’t Leave home without a Sharp Machete
While leading a group of interns to the hidden waterfall, to our right we admired the howler monkey’s leaping from branch to branch and Ramon to our right macheting away in order to clear a path to our eagerly desired waterfall haven.
With all said and done, without at least these five initial skills, an individual’s possibilities to become a distinguished campesino becomes faint. Dario and Ramon have worked to perfect their skills for the past 40 years. These men have spent most of there lives working in the jungle working with machetes and behuco (wood used for machetes), their skills can only be mastered by submerging yourself into the jungle and surviving.