In movies the rich and or important are always saying,”Have your people call my people”. OK, it’s arrogant and self-important and us peons sometimes say it in jest. However, in Panama, if you don’t have people, your life is hard and expensive.
When we first moved here, we needed an attorney to get our pensionado and cedula. There were horror stories of terrible attorneys who took lots and lots money, wasted lots and lots of time and their clients got nada in return. Our friend, LV, gave us the name of Erick Quintero. He became our first “person” and LV gave us a great recommendation. We’ve used Erick for not only our residency, but our house purchase and now our employee contract, our wills and handling property. We have a legal person.
Everyone needs a car repairman. We use Hausman. What he may lack in speed, he makes up for in skill and honesty. His last repair was our back fender that has hit everything solid in Boquete. It was ready in about 2 weeks for under $100. We have a car repair person.
Our next person wasn’t needed until we bought our house. We had some major modifications and we turned to our friends M&M. They allowed us to use their employee for several weeks. A is fantastic! He replaced doors, windows and got our house looking presentable in no time. Of course A is ‘their’ person and we had to reluctantly give him up.
When a group of workers came to finish the house, we found La. He is one of the most talented, hard-working men in Panama. He became ‘our person’. I think of him as part of our family in Panama. A few weeks ago he asked when was the last time we cleaned our water tanks. Like dumb gringos, we looked at each other and then replied, “never”. Without insulting us – which at the time would have been so easy to do – he returned the following day to clean our water tanks. Yes, we had things living inside. He also installed an additional filter. He did comment that we were very lucky that we didn’t die from some terrible parasite and then he laughed. Actually the water in our area is very good but I’m glad nothing is swimming in it anymore. We have friends that actually have fecal matter in their water. La is definitely our most important person.
We have our housekeeper, Lo. She is wonderful. Again, she was highly recommended by a friend. She’s hardworking, honest and extremely pleasant. Both Lo and La attempt to correct our Spanish. I suspect both know more English than the let on but they speak only Spanish to us because they know we want to learn. If I have a local question, Lo or LL will give us a honest answer.
We have other business people. We use Anavilma for our travel and has more patience that most people I know. We have great doctors when we need treatment or referrals. Lu is the best electrician in town. We have a welding guy, a lawn guy and people at all the utility companies.
Not all of our people are Panamanian. Some are gringo and equally important. We have car people, D and K. W have Spanish translators.
We would not have met them without the experience and advice from the expats who arrived before us. Going in blind would have resulted in many problems. Having people is so important and we have been very lucky to have gotten the very best. We are also lucky to have made friends with some of these people and our lives are richer for it.