The Isthmus... A Happy Place

April 10, 2016.

 Let's talk about Chorillo. I know I might talk about this neighborhood a lot but it's a fascinating place. It has spawned many a well know personalities. The most well known is the boxer Roberto Duran. Duran was famous for his No Mas! fight against Sugar Ray Leonard. Why is Panama one of the happiest places on earth? Could it be the poor living conditions? The low paying work? No! It's the community. The support that each person has within their tight knit coterie of family and friends. It has continually ranked as one of the happiest places on earth for the residents of this small Central American country of 3.8 million people. 

Former political murals in Chorilo that faded.

      This neighborhood was founded in 1915 by a mostly immigrant population that was working on the construction of the Panama Canal. Now more than a century later this downtrodden area has a spirit that is uncompromised and unparalled. You can see it on the faces of it's residents. I've walked many of these streets. So many people are outside, whether it's playing soccer on a makeshift landscape of a buildings foundation or on a field made of asphalt. Just smile and be thankful....

—Andrew Kaufman