Edition 2-15                                               May - June 2015


•  New water distribution in Boquete

•  Emergency First Aid in Boquete: Safety does not take a vacation

•  Rites of Passage Workshop at Casa de Montaña

• Guidelines for "tipping" in Panama

• 7th Summit of the Americas: Panama sets the stage for       prosperity!

New water distribution in Boquete
Article by Andres Lay and Joy Huppe


“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”  George Bernard Shaw

During the past Feria de las Flores y El Café (Flower & Coffee Fair) in Boquete, President Varela announced the start of an estimated 25 million dollar project for the design and construction of a new aqueduct, sanitary sewer network and wastewater treatment plant for Boquete. The announcement was followed up with a government-issued “request for tender” (a formal, structured invitation for suppliers to bid on the supply of products or services) to which 20 companies have responded. The project is planned to take two years to complete, with a contract to include an additional five years of maintenance for both the water supply and sewer system.

This is welcome news to the residents of Boquete! Not only will the new project improve quality of life for the local population, but it will  impact the local economy by generating new employment opportunities and economic prosperity.

Although Varela’s initiative is new, water issues in Boquete are not. There is no water shortage here in Boquete (thanks to high annual rainfall), but the problem stems from improper distribution due to discordant water networks run by different local water boards. There is also a concern about water quality and possible contamination, especially with the growing population.  Read More...
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Emergency First Aid in Boquete: Safety doesn’t take a vacation
Article by Joy Huppe



Emergency First Aid. It isn’t the first thing you think of when you are on vacation, and in all honesty, it usually does not hit one’s radar at all. However, experienced travelers know that accidents and injuries can occur at any time, regardless of well-laid plans. Thankfully, we have not experienced a health-related emergency at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, but that didn’t stop us from being prepared… just in case.

In order to be ready for a crisis situation, the ‘Casa staff’ recently participated in a First Aid workshop. Though we all came from varying backgrounds of prior first-aid education, each of us walked away with new knowledge and a desire to remind others how vitally important this information is.

First aid can be defined as the initial care given by a responder with little equipment to someone who is injured or suddenly ill until professional emergency medical treatment becomes available. When disaster strikes, every second counts. There is no time to reach for an instruction manual or enter queries into a search-engine. Working knowledge of first aid can literally be the difference between life and death. Yet studies show that more than half of those polled (59%) would not feel confident enough to try and save a life, and almost a quarter (24%) of responders would do nothing but wait for an ambulance to arrive or hope that another passer-by would take charge. The result? Thousands of people continue to die each year from lack of first aid in situations where it could have been prevented.


First aid has three main aims: preserve life, prevent deterioration, and promote recovery. The first aim of preserving life is carried out by emergency first aid procedures such as opening the airway of a choking victim, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a cardiac arrest victim, or applying direct pressure to a wound. Once a person is stabilized, the second aim is to prevent the victim’s condition from deteriorating further. This could include, for example, asking a person who has fallen and sustained injury to stay still to prevent movement of possible fractures. Lastly, recovery can be promoted by arranging prompt emergency medical help. Read More...

Guidelines for "tipping" in Panama
Article by Joy Huppe



Tipping, in general, is a curious phenomenon. It is a direct exchange between the consumer and service provider which almost everyone engages in at one time or another. Additionally, tipping represents a major source of income for many who work in the service industry, and as such, it is a consumer behavior of enormous importance in the economy. Lastly, tipping is one of the few areas of the economy where the exchange is dictated by informal rules of custom rather than explicitly stated procedures. Factor in that tipping norms vary cross-culturally, and are influenced by individuals’ perceptions and awareness of this custom… and you may end up scratching you head, wondering whom to tip and how much.

It should come as no surprise that tipping etiquette in Panama is different than say the U.S. (where tips are expected/implied), or from say, New Zealand (where tips are few and far between.) So how should you handle tipping when visiting or living in Panama? The answer we resonate with the most is “listen to your heart” and give how/what you feel is appropriate. You cannot go wrong when you give from the heart. However, in matters of money, the heart usually takes a back seat… and this is where suggested guidelines can be helpful.

Tipping has evolved over the years. While the exact origins tipping are not known, the custom dates back to at least to 18th century England when collection boxes with signs stating “To Insure Promptness” (TIP) were placed in inns and coffee houses for people to deposit coins. At its core, tipping is simply a monetary incentive given to invoke or reward exceptional service. Overtime, in certain countries, the custom of tipping has become mandatory and/or relied upon in certain industries to actually meet minimum wage requirements. For example, it is commonly known in the US that restaurant waitstaff earn much less than minimum wage because outside tipping is factored into their end totals. Another common practice for restaurants is to include the tip as part of the bill when serving parties over a certain size. Read More...

     Rites of Passage Workshop at Casa de Montaña         



"Happiness in life is not achieved by finding the right answers but rather by asking deep and meaningful questions."  We invite you to join us in these two events and experience this for yourself!


Wilbert Alix explores the contemporary application of shamanic healing rituals. His work involves the blending of modern science and principles of mysticism into applicable new technologies that benefit and improve our approaches to ecology, psychotherapy, education and resolving cultural conflicts. His work with Trance Dance and Rites of Passage has introduced thousands to the mysteries that lay within shamanism.



 COST: $60

For listing of all the Boquete events click on the following website:
For additional information about Wibert Alix's work check out the main website:

7th Summit of the Americas: Panama sets the stage for prosperity!
Blog by Joy Huppe



As many of you know, the 7th Summit of the Americas just wrapped up in Panama City last week. The Summit is a meeting that takes place in a different American country every 3-4 years with the aim of fostering discussion among top political leaders in the Western Hemisphere on a variety of issues concerning the social, political and economic well-being in their slice of the world. This year’s official theme was “Prosperity with Equity” and featured hot-topics such as education, health, the environment, security, civil society, participation and governance.

However, at the conclusion of the Summit no official declaration was issued, due to lack of consensus on six paragraphs of the document being discussed. Believe it or not, a non-consensus is not all that surprising. It is hard enough sometimes getting agreement between three or more people on just one topic… now imagine this multifold! In fact, this is the third consecutive summit to not produce an official declaration, prompting questions (and criticism) as to whether or not the summits have out-lived their usefulness.

Despite mixed opinions and lack of an official communiqué, there is one thing we can all agree upon: The 7th Summit of the Americas was indeed a historic event. Panama President Varela credits the Summit as heralding “the beginning of a new era of dialogue and cooperation in our region.” Others have called the event a “tipping point in a new chapter of the Americas.”

While the main impetus for such sentiments is no doubt the newly-lifted embargo between Cuba and the U.S., which opened up the opportunity for Cuba to participate in the summit after over 50 years of being excluded from the event, other newsworthy happenings should not be overlooked. These include hemispheric-wide support for peace in Colombia, a new proposal to institute an Inter-American education system, current tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela, and overwhelming praise to Panama as the host country. Read More...

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