This weekend I did something different. I met Irene Haines (the Book Lady) at the Fundacion Pro-Integracion Capitulo de Boquete, commonly referred to as the Handicap Foundation.  She had invited me there to show me what the foundation is all about. As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed a number of people arriving by taxi.  Inside the facility on this Saturday morning were about 40 people, including children, management, therapists and volunteers.

By coincidence my friend, David, was volunteering at the foundation. He was sitting with a 10 year old boy named RRonald2onald.  Ronald was born with misshaped legs that made it nearly impossible for him to walk.  This is Ronald before his operation in Louisiana.  Again by coincidence, Ronald was met in Louisiana by Perry, a friend of David.  Both of his legs were operated on to make them straighter.

ronald1This is Ronald at the airport after his surgery with his mother and Perry.  You can see the tremendous difference.  Even with this amazing improvement, this was not the Ronald I met on Saturday.  The Ronald I met was still smiling but he was also walking, running and playing too. P1020196

He was very proud to show off his straightened legs and how well he walks.  Then he went outside to play with some other boys. The more he exercises his leg muscles, the stronger his legs become. It’s hard to believe that these pictures were taken only a few months apart and they are the same child.


I talked to Irene for a long time at the center.  I told her how impressed I was at Ronald’s progress.  She told me about the work the center has been doing.  Although I’ve lived here for a year and visited for 4 years prior to moving to Boquete, I had never heard of the Foundation, their work, or their fundraising efforts.  The Foundation is very lucky in that their need for wheelchairs is met by the main offices in Panama City and other equipment comes from Tom McCormack’s Foundation and Hope for the City.  However, there are a great many needs that the Foundation has for which they try to raise funds. They hold several clothing sales throughout the year – the next one is in August.  If you have some good, used clothing, they would love the donation.

I asked Irene, “What do you need?”  Very frankly she replied, “money”.  Most of the families at the Fundacion are recipients of food from Buenos Vecinos de Boquete.  Everyone receives lunch while they are there on a Saturday.  That is not their biggest expense. The biggest expense as I mentioned in the opening paragraph is transportation – taxi fare. Many of their clients live far up the mountains and have no way of getting to the therapy that they need.  Many cab drivers won’t even pick them up.  Irene sends taxis to bring these people to the Fundacion.  That is their biggest expense and that is why she is asking for MONEY.  The foundation not only pays for transportation to the facility, but transportation to medical appointments, therapy and school.  They also pay for medicine, consultations, examinations and $4 a night for hospital stays.  The Foundation paid out $1300. in May for these expenses.

If you would be generous enough to help, you can find Irene at the Tuesday Market or you can drop by the Fundacion Pro-Integracion Capitulo de Boquete.  Their facility is a blue building near the new clinic on the east side of the main highway.


I recommend that future expats visit the links below.



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2 thoughts on “Money

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