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Buenos Vecinos de Boquete October Newsletter

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Buenos Vecinos Family of the Month October 2020 Benjamin

Benjamin is a spry seventy-eight year old. Small and wiry, he still works a little garden every day. As a widower he now cooks his own meals and washes his own clothes, but he does have the companionship of his brother and sister who own the property where he has been able to build a modest casita and create this garden. They live only a few yards away and all of these siblings enjoy the time they spend together.

Several years ago Benjamin owned a small property where he raised a few livestock and some vegetables. Then a relative successfully convinced Benjamin to co-sign a bank note to underwrite a business venture. Unfortunately, the venture failed, the bank called the loan and demanded the collateral, Benjamin’s little farm.

Despite the loss of his wife and his farm Benjamin is still grateful for what he has; the garden produces enough food for his family’s use and a little more to sell down in the village. The hour walk down the mountain each week also gives him the opportunity to visit a grown daughter who lives there. Combined with the very modest pension Panamanians receive from the government when they turn seventy years old, he is able to meet most of his expenses. The non-perishable food he receives from Buenos Vecinos each month adds just what he needs to complete his pantry; he says, “Yo tengo bastante, Gracias!” “I have enough, thank you!”

Chiriqui Media Factory Is Key to Buenos Vecinos Marketing Efforts

There are angels among us right here in Chiriqui Province, and two of them have been helping Buenos Vecinos de Boquete tell our story to the world. In 2017 Gijs Hoogerkamp, a local internet marketing entrepreneur approached us with the offer to help produce our newsletter more professionally and to also upgrade our website. We jumped at this chance to reach more readers with top-notch internet products, and we are grateful every day for the way it has helped us present a fresh face with our compelling message of providing food to the neediest residents of our community. Gijs introduced us to his friend and web-designer protoge, Diogenes “Ivan” Gonzalez, who was to become our monthly newsletter producer and website monitor. Born, raised and educated in the Potrerillos Arriba area, Ivan has studied English at universities in David and Panama City.

Gijs and his wife Hanny moved to Potrerillos Arriba from Bonaire in 2014. Gijs had operated internet businesses even earlier from their home country, the Netherlands, but now runs them from Panama. His specialties are network marketing and search engine optimization. He and Ivan founded the 
Chiriqui Media Factory (CMF), in which Ivan is an equal partner and shareholder. Hanny operates La Casa de los Animales, a first-rate private animal shelter known for its high level of care to rehabilitate and re-home abandoned, sick and injured animals.

Gijs and Hanny met Ivan and his family soon after their arrival in the area when Ivan, his wife Katia, and their daughter Aliss, who was only seven months old, had just been diagnosed with a failing liver. Katia was soon identified as the liver transplant donor, and Gijs stepped in to help with the travel and medical expenses in Cali, Columbia by setting up a fund-raising site which, in turn, caught the attention of influential people in Panama City. Soon all the funds were raised for everything, including the three-month long recovery period. Today Aliss is a strong and healthy five-year old who loves playing with the animals in her neighborhood and enjoying other fun activities like playing golf with Gijs.

The personal relationship developed further when Ivan began working for the Hoogerkamps in various functions, which then happily turned to website design and development under Gijs’s mentorship. It was then that CMF was born with Gijs providing the administrative and marketing expertise and Ivan producing and managing the web designs and results analysis for the clients. Buenos Vecinos de Boquete is one of the fortunate recipients of this dynamic collaboration.

CMF is still a relatively new enterprise, Gijs and Ivan can devote a great deal of time and attention to each of their clients. Recently they finished an online shop for Vista Encanto Coffee, and now they are working on a website for a furniture business. To view some of these non-profit and commercial websites and to learn more about the Chiriqui Media Factory, follow the links below.

Amigos de Animales Boquete\

Ivan´s Contact Number 6860-6599

BVB Volunteers Together Again
On Thursday some of the members of Buenos Vecinos de Boquete were finally able to hold an in-person meeting. Our last meeting was held in February before everything was closed for the pandemic. Fortunately, we were able to provide food support to almost all of our families with the help of Fundacion Pro-Integracion (the Handicap Foundation) for the first three months of the restrictive quarantine. For the last three months we had a very small group that packed food for all of our families and we didn’t hold a general meeting. This past week it was very gratifying to be able to gather, discuss our programs and start planning for the future. We met outside, maintained proper social distancing and wore masks. This is a beginning step toward the new normal. We are looking forward to continuing to meet in person and to maintain and possibly expand our level of services to the elderly, handicapped and needy families in our area.
How to Help
If you would like to help our clients and the efforts of Buenos Vecinos de Boquete, we would appreciate your donation of any size. It’s important for you to know that we are a small all-volunteer force with no administrative or overhead costs. Every dollar of your donation goes to the purchase of food for out clients. When you make that important decision to help feed the less fortunate in our community, you have truly become a “good neighbor”. When you donate $400 a year or a little more than $33 a month, you become a Coconut Foundation Member as an acknowledgment of your concern and generosity. Donate Online: We use PayPal for easy and secure transactions.


If you prefer to donate by cash or local check, please contact Louise Orr panamaleo@gmail.com for arrangements.
Be sure to check out our website and Facebook page:
Thank you!
Copyright © 2020 Buenos Vecinos de Boquete, All rights reserved.

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