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Monday, February 21, 2011

Gringos, Ruts, and Native Americans

Many of the gringos are very nice people, and actually learn how to fit in reasonably well here, gaining the respect of the local people. All gringos (even me, getting by on a retirement pension so small that it was impossible to survive on it in North America or Europe) are by local standards well off, some of them rich even by gringo standards. But unfortunately there are some who live not only ostentatiously with their money, but nastily. These ones I rarely encounter directly; when I do, they look down their noses at me, even though I’m American, simply because I don’t have their kind of money and smug pushiness.

There has always been class consciousness here; there’s definitely a distinction between Latinos and Ngäbe Buglé. But relatively new is this strong emphasis on social stratification, in which certain groups perceive themselves as better than those they deem “below” them. So harsh is it that certain rich gringos think they are intrinsically better than not only all local people, but even the poor gringos like me.

There was a neighborhood meeting to discuss how best to direct the deluges of rainwater that pour down some of the village’s dirt streets during the rainy season,

flooding cellars and causing the dirt roads to erode badly.

* * *

As they come to me to be written, new chapters will be added to this blog, so stay tuned! But the blogs up to a certain point are now chapters are now in a book.

So, to read more, you need the book A WRITER IN PANAMÁ.

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