Hi everyone. I thought you all would like to know what has been going on lately in Panama. I don't know how much you already know but we have a large scale anti-mining protest going on. Right near where we live in the Chiriqui Providence the land is extremely rich in copper and gold. This same land had been given as a reserve to the indigenous Indian tribe called Ngabe-Bugle. The Ngabe have been protesting for years for protection of their land. The President apparently made many "promises", as they all do, that he has refused to keep for the economic good of the country, or should I say his back pocket. So the Ngabe decided to up their protest as of Monday January 30th by shutting down the PanAmericana Highway about 1 hour east of David. This is the only route from Chiriqui to Panama City. The road was closed for almost a week. We didn't see to much going on in David just that by Sunday I think all of Chiriqui was out of gas. Then the government decided to use some force and break through. The protesters only have machetes and rocks as weponds but they are very determined and in large numbers. Anyway it appears there was 1 death when the government opened the road block. But the opening was very short lived. The protesters have now moved to other areas and have come a little closer to home. They have shut of the PanAmericana Highway at David. They have also closed roads that goes up the mountain more to the area they are protesting about. That area is Conception and Volcan. So again everything is pretty quiet and same as always in David, but apparently very close there is quite a protest going on. The government is trying to use as little force as possible with the protesters but it also appears as though both sides are not willing to compromise. We are not sure how long all of this will last.
On a lighter note, I had a good study today. Ana, the mother, and Luis, her son, are doing really good. I am enjoying the study so very much. Ana has a strong love for Jehovah. I really need to hand her over to the Spanish Congregation and I plan on doing that soon. I tried today to get a sister from that hall to go with me today, but it didn't work out. In the meantime I get to practice my Spanish. Today they even had me read the scriptures from the Bible in Spanish. It is a neat interchange. I feel like I am helping them understand the Bible and they are helping me learn Spanish. Blake went with me on the study today and Luis told him he would help him learn Spanish. They have set up for Luis to come to our house on Wednesday for Blake's first Spanish class. Ana's oldest daughter is deaf. Her name is Genesis. She reads lips and taught herself sign language. Blake was able to communicate with her some. She is a very sweet and beautiful girl. Even though I have not gotten to communicate with her much I really like her.
I will keep in touch and try to keep you updated about the protest. I hope all is fine back home. I am planning on being in KY in March to help my mom pack, so hopefully I will see you all then.