Friday, September 19, 2008

Celebration of the life of Elizabeth Leigh

Today we celebrated the completed life of Lizzy Leigh. The service was in the Balboa Union Church, which she attended a lot, switching from St, Lukes to Balboa Union and sometimes to St. Mary´s a Catholic Church nearby. She often went to two of these on a Sunday. Her ashes are in a simple metal box under the veil. (If you click on the pictures they will enlarge.)
The service was at Balboa Union because the Episcopal Cathedral is getting a new roof. Lizzy is holding John about 29 years ago. Mary, her daughter, pulled together a lot of pictures which were stuck to a large bedspread downstairs in the parish hall.

As you can see the church was full - I estimate between 400 and 500 people. For about 40 minutes before the service were a number of musical offerings, solos, choir and instrumental, celebrating Lizzy´s contributions to music, choirs, helping young musicians.
The Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Panama was the celebrant. Rev. Michael Dresbach helped plan, coordinated, and preached the sermon. We sang a number of wonderful hymes: What is This Place, My Life Flows On, Earth and All Stars, Come My Way My Truth My Life, Come Down O Love Devine, Sing My Tongue the Glorious Battle and All Creatures of Our God and King. (You can look them up by name using Google.)
At the commendation of the body, the Bishop asked us to applaude her into heaven, like an applause for an encour. For the Prayers of the People, all of the members of her family got up and each one read a section. The service ended with the choir (Cantemus) and instruments proforming Worthy Is the Name of the Lord, from Handel´s messiah. Lizzy´s sisters Martha and Kate and her daughter Mary joined the choral group. One the left is her sister Martha and on the right Kate.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Elizabetth Leigh (Lizzy)

My very good friend Elizabeth Leigh died Saturday morning of heart failure. She had been in the hospital in intensive care for more than 4 weeks. Here she is sitting in her living room. Lizzy was a singer and played the Viola. She sang in just about every choir in Panama in the more than 30 years she had lived here. She was also active in The British Aid Society which provided care and visits for, at first, elderly Afro-antillians and later anyone who had no one to care for them. Lizzy was know for her extra delicious baked chicken and here she is showing us the one we are about to eat. You can see from the background that her house was full of a great variety on wonderful thing. Books and baskets and carvings from wounan indiginas were one of her joys. She acted as a middle person for the sale of indiginous arts and crafts - always paying up front.
. Here she is at her dining room table. Her husband, Dr. Egbert Leigh, (a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute here in Panama) is in the background. Lizzy and Bert and their Children Mary and John have been my extended family for more than 20 years. I learned a lot from lizzy - a lot of practical things. One was how to pick up a snake without getting bitten. This lesson was when a small BOA (12 to 15 inches) fell from a rafer under her house where a group learning basket weaving was working. Unter her tutaledge I have also learned to make delicious chocolate sauce from scratch.
She will be greatly missed by her friends and colleagues.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Three primary school girls are playing a multiplication game found at It is a really fun and effective way for kids to practice. Here they are playing the video game the can play after answering 15 facts correctly.
Another picture of the same thing.
Guissell is concentrating on doing long division. The format for division is always 3579 : 16.

Birthday Parties at the home.

Tuesday was Enibeth´s 10th birthday.
Although we celebrate Birthdays all together every month sometimes a girl´s godmother will get a cake for the very day. This is very typicle of birthday cakes here. You can see the basket of recycled candles. I will give Eni a picture of the cake and one of the pictures below. Turning 10 means some new challenges for her. She will now wash her own clothes by hand and also learn to iron and be responsible to iron her school uniforms and dress for church on Sunday. Here she is with all 10 candles lit. On her right is the director, Elba Flores, and next to her is Guissell and the left is Mari Isabel who shares the same last name but is not closely related. Next to her is Evelia. This year Eni has mastered the multiplication tables.
Here is the whole gang - just about. The adult on the right is one of the House Mothers or child care workers. She grew up in the home and is now studying in the University at night.
The three in the blue shirts are in middle school or junior high - grades 7,8,9 and the two with while shirts and blue ties are in High School. To the right is our secretary Beni, who also grew up in the home. She too is going to the University at night. Our well liked cook is on the left, nearer to Eni and the other woman does the laundry - sheets, towels, Sunday clothes and mends. She also washes the youngest kids clothes.
Here she is making a wish! If you make a comment I can show it to the girls and also they can use my blog to answer through comments.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Get to know the Girls´ Home

The introductory sentences for this blog are at the end. I haven´t acquired all of the skills of puting a blog together. Here are Maria and Stefani on the swing set. In the background ate the windows of the youngest girls´dorm and the stencil flowere, beed and butterflies adorning the wall. (You can make the picture BIG by clicking on it.) The door on the left leads into our computer room.
The front part of our busito (a 15 pasenger van into which we can get a lot of people). The director of the home is on the right. Next to her is Evelia, then Stefani and Maria. They are about to leave for school. All are in the afternoon turn of school. They do homework in the morning.
Graciela by the door leading to the Parking lot.
Posing in front of our sign are Maria, Rosa, Guiselle, and her sister Stefani. Afternoon school is from 12:30 to 5:30 - 6 for the oldest girls.
Here is a view of the porch where the girls do homework and also hang out and play. Behind it is the the classroom where most of the girls have a desk and do their homework. This year only 4 girls really study independently!

Here are some pictures of the home itself. I took them for a report the director was making for MIDES - minesterio de desarollo social - which over sees us.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Here are the girls in our dining room. It is probably breakfast since they have bowls and their blue plastic glasses. Pro niñez bought us the tables and chairs a couple of years ago. Some of the old ones could have been from the very beginning of the home 87 years ago.
This is Maria - our newest girl. She is 11 and in third grade. She came with a lot of medical problems but we have worked on a lot of them and are continuing to do so - so she is much better!
Four of the primary girls ready for school and posing in front of our sign.

Now I can use pictures again. My new computer (the first one I have owned) is great. I love it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I´m back in Panama.

I have been back in Panama for about 10 days and I have been really busy. This week is take kids to the Dr. week. Graciela had her monthly appointment of control and an appointment with a cardiologist. (She is our young woman with kidney failure.) He hemoglobin is going up ' from a low of 5 it is now up to 10.4 ' this is due to a new manufacturer of the medicine she receives to help her make hemoglobin plus a lot of iron tonic. Her heart is ok but is somewhat enlarged because of the severe anemia. I saw her school grades today and they are good 'basically as they always are.

Yesterday was take 3 adolescents to their monthly psyquiatric appointment. The Dr talks to one of them alone and then works with the three together. He also saw our newest girl and he says that she appears to have some syndrome. We are working with her on various medical fronts and she is growing and doing better. Even though she is overage (11) to receive the special nutrative crema (a drink) he was able to get her 6 one pound bags. She will get it twice each day with extra milk. She is gaining weight but is not getting taller as yet.

The last Sunday I was in Philly I had a chance to preach about my work here and got some deeply appriciated donation. Also the Sunday School at my home church is going to try to raise some money each month to buy more fruit.

I bought a new computer (my first - a laptop) and think I will be able to add pictures to my blog again soon.

Blessings, Sue