Santa Ana may be one of the most unique neighborhoods I’ve encountered in my many travels. From its remnants of an affluent past to its extreme poverty currently plaguing the community; Santa Ana is a one of a kind locale, attracting me to its history and experiences. However, it became very clear as an outside spectator making grand assumptions, we don’t belong nor shall we attempt to immerse ourselves in their community for solely personal benefits.
Dusty roads are outlined by bits of trash, that in some areas become large piles. This is especially evident in abandoned lots. In many regards, this section of Panama would be considered “the slums” or in the states “the ghetto”.
So then why the attraction? The attraction stems from my curiosity about their life style and how they cope. Moreover, exploring actual needs versus wants. In the US, people complain about lack of square feet in their 4000 square foot split ranch home on several acres. Here in Santa Ana, families struggle to provide food for their babies and children on a daily basis. The word humbling will forever now have a different meaning.
Santa Ana needs so much help, it’s almost overwhelming. For now, our small team shall continue efforts with a small local foundation that provides youth outreach services in the community. After which, when I return to the states, I will hope nothing but the best for Santa Ana and its community members.