The title of the post read in the dialect of the indigenous islands, “God go with you, Jessica.” It is our way of saluting Jessica “Bichocho” Porath, the outgoing Peace Corps Volunteer on her safe journey from Sandubidi back to the United States.
Many of our guests have had the opportunity to meet Jessica. Her bright smile and humble spirit greeted many visitors to the indigenous village of Sandubidi or Popa Dos. Whether teaching English to villagers, growing the tourism initiative or helping out the women’s cooperative, Meri Ngobe, Jessica’s willing nature carried her through with grace.
Guests of Popa Paradise were always struck by her lasting optimism and her warm, friendly attitude towards visitors and locals alike. Living in a thatched hut, with holes in the floor, that she carefully took the time to fill, her residence was a stark contrast to that of the lush casitas of Popa Paradise. She was happy to show off her surroundings and besides the occasional request for a ride to Bocas town, her necessities reflected those of her fellow villagers: some rice and plantains for sustenance, fresh water in her rain catchment tank, and a phone card here and there, to stay in touch with the outside world.
After being introduced to Jessica, by our boat captain, who was smitten with the “girl who danced with indios!” we invited her back to the resort for an overnight. Every once in a while, when she could find the time and we had the space, we would have her over for a nourishing meal, some time to catch up on the Internet and a quiet place to recharge her batteries both the AA kind and her own personal store of energy.
Jessica is going to be missed not only by her gringo neighbors, but by many of our staff, indigenous, Latino, and Afro-Caribe. Most of all she will be missed by the people that she lived with, whom she earned respect and affection from, by living among them and as them.
Jatwaitai mare, Bichochi! Until later, Jessica…