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1 A Look at Global Brigades in Panamá. 2 A Look at Panamá Outline I.Title Page II.Packet Outline III.Introduction IV.Culture i.Latino Culture ii.Wounaan.

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Presentation on theme: "1 A Look at Global Brigades in Panamá. 2 A Look at Panamá Outline I.Title Page II.Packet Outline III.Introduction IV.Culture i.Latino Culture ii.Wounaan."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 A Look at Global Brigades in Panamá

2 2 A Look at Panamá Outline I.Title Page II.Packet Outline III.Introduction IV.Culture i.Latino Culture ii.Wounaan Culture iii.Emberá Culture iv.Guna Culture V.History i.Panamá History ii.Darién History iii.Global Brigades Panamá History VI.Health i.Panamá Statistics ii.Panamá Healthcare System VII.Conclusion p. 1 p. 2 p. 3 p. 4 p. 5 p. 6 p. 7 p. 8 p. 8-9 p. 10 p. 11 p. 12 p. 13 p. 14

3 3 Introduction Hello future and returning Panamá brigaders, We, the Global Brigades Panamá team, cannot express how excited that we are to learn that you have expressed interest in learning more about Panamá! In this packet, we describe three topics that are paramount to Global Brigades’ operations in Panamá: the country’s rich culture, eclectic history, and divided healthcare system. We ask that you familiarize yourself with this information during the time before your arrival in-country. During your time in Panamá, you will be exposed to all three of these themes in both obvious and subtle ways. The culture, history, and healthcare system of Panamá divide the country socially and economically. These divisions greatly impact the daily lives of the communities with which we work. Keep in mind that there is much more information about these topics available online at our website, Also, please feel free to contact us with any questions! Sincerely, Amy, Grace, and Daniel Global Health Program Associates Global Brigades Panamá

4 4 Latino Culture Latinos form the largest ethnic group within Panamá; they make up approximately 74% of the country’s 3.5 million person population. Latinos speak primarily Spanish; approximately 10% of the country also speaks English. Global Brigades Panamá works with many Latino communities in East Panamá and Darién, the province closest to Colombia. Everyday Latino attire is easy to recognize: t-shirts, polos, button-down shirts, jeans, and khakis. Latinos living in East Panamá and Darién frequently work in agriculture, cattle-farming, and the lumber industry. Traditional Panamanian Latino cuisine includes chicken, rice, beans, Panamanian tortillas, and local fruits. The pictures above depict traditional Latino architecture in East Panamá. The buildings are constructed with cinder blocks and cement. The large skirt in the above picture is known as the pollera, a traditional Latin American dress usually decorated with flowers and animals. The pollera can take a year to make. The most popular sports in Panamanian Latino culture are soccer, baseball, basketball, and boxing. The overwhelming majority of Latinos are Roman Catholic.

5 5 Wounaan Culture The size of this Wounaan building indicates that it would be used as a community building, not a family’s house. Note that the structure is built to withstand flooding. This basket is woven from palm strands. Wounaan artisans dye the material from its natural white. Baskets can take months of work. The above pictures show Wounaan community members in traditional attire. The Wounaan population is an indigenous group with its own language, Wounaan. However, the majority of the Wounaan have learned Spanish as well, particularly the younger generations that have been taught Spanish since they were children. The Wounaan are the smallest of the tribes with which Global Brigades Panamá works; their population in Panamá only numbers around 7,000 people. The Panamanian Wounaan tribe lives in the eastern half of Panamá. The tribe shares a Comarca with the Emberá tribe near the Darién province. The Wounaan traditionally color themselves with an ink made from fruit called jagua. Each pattern represents different aspects of nature. The Wounaan work in agriculture and make artisan crafts.

6 6 Emberá Culture These Emberá women are dressed in traditional attire. Many Emberá and Wounaan live in the marked Comarca, a province that allows indigenous groups a good deal of autonomy from the central Panamanian government. Emberá buildings, like those in Wounaan communities, are raised off of the ground in case of floods. This building is one family’s home. They use tree trunks as ladders by carving footholds into a trunk. The roofs of the building are made from palm leaves and must be redone around every five years. The Emberá tribe is similar to the Wounaan in appearance and architecture. The Emberá also have a language that is only used by their tribe; however, the majority of the tribe also speaks Spanish. The Emberá population in Panamá numbers around 31,000 and is located in East Panama, Darién, and the Emberá- Wounaan Comarca. Like the Wounaan tribe, the Emberá frequently paint designs on their skin with ink made from jagua fruit. The jagua designs have religious significance to the Emberá; the designs that each person has represents different aspects of nature and are traditionally decided by a religious leader. The preservation and appreciation of nature is very importance to Emberá society. The cacique is the title of the community’s leader. The caciques lead their communities with the consent and input of their community members. Community land is usually communally owned, maintained, and farmed. The Emberá living in the Comarca enjoy a great deal of independence through self-governance. 6

7 Guna Culture Many Guna live in the Guna Yala Comarca, a province that is Northeast of Panamá City along the Caribbean coast. Guna houses are built along the ground, unlike Emberá and Wounaan houses. Many are directly along the beach. Traditional Guna attire for women includes strings of beads that cover the forearms and lower legs. The Guna tribe is mostly located in East Panamá, Darién, and the Guna Yala comarca, which is also known as San Blas. Living on the Caribbean, those in Guna Yala enjoy some of the most beautiful landscapes in Panamá. There are approximately 80,000 Guna living in Panamá. Many Guna live in fishing villages, but some Guna have also moved to Panama City. Of the indigenous populations with which Global Brigades works, the Guna are typically the most reserved and shy. Like the other indigenous populations in Panamá, the Guna have their own language, but many speak Spanish. 7 Many Guna work in agriculture, cattle-ranching, and fishing. Also, many Guna women produce artisan crafts that are sold in Panamá City; the Guna are famous for their colorful molas. The women in the image on the right represent the daily outfit for Guna women. Guna women keep their hair cut much shorter than Emberá or Wounaan women. Another note of interest, the Guna population has an abnormally high prevalence of albinos; Guna albinos are highly valued within their culture.

8 8 Pre-Independence Panamá History Panamanian history is full of interactions with a diverse group of nationalities, ethnicities, and religions. This is mixture of cultures is evident today – the largest ethnic group today is mestizos, those descended both from indigenous populations and European colonists. Developments in Panamá’s history has been driven by North American, European, Asian, African, and indigenous populations. 1824 Map of Gran Colombia1854 Lithograph of Panamá Railroad YEARPRE-INDEPENDENCE PANAMÁ HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS Ancestors of modern Panamanian indigenous tribes lived on the Panamanian isthmus for over 10,000 years before European contact. The estimated population in Panamá ranged from 200,000 to 2 million. Trading routes existed from Mexico to Peru. 1501 First European, Rodrigo de Bastidas, arrived in Panamá. 1502 Christopher Columbus established a short-lived settlement in the present-day Darién province. 1519 Panamá City is founded by Spaniard Pedro Arias de Ávila. The city served as a military supply base during the Spanish conquest of the Incans in Peru. 1538 Spanish Empire established Panamá as a territory. 1582 Native Panamanians and the Spanish established military alliance to combat English and Dutch piracy. 1671 English privateer Henry Morgan sacked Panamá City. 1700 Spanish military ended Scotland’s attempt to establish a colony in Darién. The event is known as the “Darién scheme” or the “Darién Disaster.” 1717 Panamá is grouped with northern South America by the Spanish in the protectorate known as New Granada; the area included present-day Panama, Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Costa Rica. 1807 Napoleon seized control of Spain. As a result, the Spanish lost control of many of its colonies. 1821 Panamá claimed full independence from Spain. Panamá joins Gran Colombia confederacy with Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. 1830 Gran Colombia collapsed. Panamá became part of Colombia. 1846 Colombia allowed the United States to construct railway across Panamá. The laborers were primarily of Chinese descent. 8

9 9 Post-Independence Panamá History As demonstrated from the previous page, Panamá’s pre-independence history was largely a competition of European powers that were vying for the control of Panamá’s luscious landscape and strategic placement. During the 1900s, the United States played the biggest role in influencing Panamá’s affairs. From the time of Panamá’s independence from Colombia in 1903 until (literally) the last day of the 20 th century, the United States has played a major role in shaping the Panamanian government and economy. Modern day Panamá CanalUS Invasion of Panamá YEARPOST-INDEPENDENCE PANAMÁ HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS 1903 Panamá split from Colombia by means of US political, military, and financial support. The United States assumed control of the construction of the Panamá Canal and buys the land 5 miles in either direction from the Canal, an area known as the Canal Zone. 1914 Canal construction completed. 1939 Panamá ceases to be United States protectorate. 1968 National Guard chief Omar Torrijos overthrows democratic government and establishes a dictatorship that lasted until his death in 1981. 1983 CIA informant and Panamanian intelligence chief Manuel Noriega becomes head of National Guard and takes control of country. Noriega’s National Guard is rebranded as the Panamá Defense Forces. 1988 A failed coup, supported by the US, caused Noriega to declare a state of emergency. 1989 Opposition party won general presidential election, but Noriega declared the results invalid. In December, the US invaded Panamá to depose Noriega. The US established the opposition candidate, Guillermo Endara, as president. 1991 The Panamanian Parliament abolishes its standing army. 1992 Noriega found guilty of drug charges in US courts and is sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment. 1999 Panamá elected its first woman president, Mireya Moscoso. Panamá assumed all control of the Panamá Canal from the US on December 31. 2006 Panamá voted to expand canal in a $5.2 billion project. US and Panamá agreed to a fair trade agreement.

10 10 Darién History The Darién is a Panamanian province to the east of Panamá City that borders Colombia and two indigenous areas (comarcas) that are similar to Native American reservations in the United States. The Darién region is entirely rural and is a primary area of Global Brigades’ focus. Due to its proximity to the traditionally indigenous lands, many of the communities that Global Brigades visits are either Emberá or Guna. Additionally, many descendents of African slaves live in the Darién region. YEARDARIÉN HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS 1502 Christopher Columbus established a short-lived settlement in Darién. 1538 All of Panamá is claimed as a territory under the Spanish Empire. 1698 5 Scottish ships established a colony known as New Caledonia. The Scottish settlers established an alliance with a local indigenous tribe. 1699 The Scottish-Indigenous alliance successfully repelled a Spanish attack. However, disease forced many of the Scottish settlers to retreat to Jamaica. 1700 Despite an arrival of more Scottish settlers, the Spanish successfully forced Scotland to abandon New Caledonia. Scotland then abandoned its colonial aspirations to avoid further confrontation with Spain. This failure partially lead to the unification between Scotland and England in 1707. 1821 Panamá became independent from Spain and became part of Gran Colombia. 1830 Gran Colombia collapsed and Panamá became part of Colombia. 1903 Panamá became independent from Colombia. 1923 The idea of the Pan-American Highway was conceived at the 5th International Conference of American States. 1937 13 American countries signed Convention of the Pan-American Highway. 1971 Interest began to be discussed to finish the Pan-American highway by closing the “Darién Gap,” the last stretch of uncompleted land between Panamá and Colombia. 1974 Potential environmental damage prevented the completion of the Pan-American highway through the Darién Gap.

11 11 GB Panamá History YEARGLOBAL BRIGADES PANAMÁ HIGHLIGHTS 2003 First Brigade in Honduras completed by Marquette University. 2005 Global Medical Brigades founded. 2007 Global Brigades Inc. formed. 2007 Global Business Brigades and Global Water Brigades formed. 2008 Global Business Brigades moved to Panamá. 2008 Global Environmental Brigades founded in Panamá. 2008 Global Public Health Brigades founded. 2008 Global Law Brigades founded in Costa Rica. The program soon moved to Panamá. 2009 Gabriella Valencia became Executive Director of Global Brigades Panamá. 2010 Global Medical and Dental Brigades expanded to Panamá. 2012 Global Public Health Brigades is expanded to Panamá.

12 12 Panamá Health The healthcare system in Panamá City is quite different from the rural areas in Panamá Este and Darién. Below are some statistics about health in Darién and in Panamá, relative to health in the United States. Indigenous Populations DariénPanamáUnited States Population417,55948,3783,802,000318,000,000,000 Life Expectancy (Male) 69737476 Life Expectancy (Female) 70738081 Most Frequent Causes of Death Parasitic Infections and Nutrition- Related Illness Heart Disease and Cancer Heart Disease and Stroke Heart Disease and Cancer Under 5 Mortality Rate Unknown4.3%2.0%0.8% Maternal Mortality Rate Unknown 0.092%0.021% Poverty*96.7%52.7%32.7%16% Contraceptive use 22.3%60.3%62.5%78.6% *Poverty in Panamá is defined as earning less than $3.13 per day. 46% of documented diseases in Panamá are associated with contaminated water. GB Panamá works in conjunction with Panamá’s Health Ministry.

13 13 Panamá Health The hospital system varies greatly between Panamá City and rural Panamá, where Global Brigades Panamá works. For instance, private hospitals in Panamá City provide first rate care to patients with medical insurance or the resources to pay for procedures and consultations out of pocket. For populations without those resources, the public health system is the only option. Obesity (age 20+) 32.1% women19.4% men Similar to Regional Average High Blood Pressure (age 25+) 23.2% women33.1% men Higher than Regional Average High Blood Glucose (age 25+) 11.2% women10.9% men Similar to Regional Average Cigarette Smoking (age 15+) 4% women17% men Below Regional Average The statistics below represent the general Panamanian population. The “regional average” was determined from both North and South America. Health posts are run by single community health workers. They generally have first aid equipment, basic immunizations, and other basic care equipment. At both health centers and health posts, patients who cannot afford their health care are still provided the care at little to no cost. There are two hospitals that the populations that we work with use in emergencies: Chepo and La Palma. However, both of these hospitals are a 2-3 hour bus ride from many of our communities. In between the hospitals are health centers and health posts. The health centers are essentially health clinics, staffed by a few doctors or nurses. They have very basic resources such as consultation rooms, dental care, a delivery room, and a small pharmacy. Although these health centers are much closer than the hospitals, often patients still must travel hours to visit them. Patients often wait several more hours to see a doctor. Sometimes no doctors are present at the clinic and sometimes necessary medicines are not located in the health center’s pharmacy. Hospital Nacional, a private hospital in Panamá City.

14 14 Conclusion This packet attempts to summarize a diverse country’s culture, history, and healthcare system in a few pages; clearly, there is a lot more information about Panamá that is not included in this packet. Regardless, you can see that Panamá’s culture and history are a combination of indigenous, European, North American, African, and Asian populations. The availability and quality of healthcare and health education are staggeringly divided between the rural and urban areas of the country. However daunting the task may be, Global Brigades volunteers have been and will continue to assist the development of communities in rural Panamá. We look forward to your arrival and cannot wait to work with you! Stay Connected: Main Website: Volunteer Resource Site: Blog: YouTube: Contact your Global Brigades Panamá staff  For information about Medical, Dental, and Public Health brigades in Panamá:

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