A Fuller Life in Panama’s Top Highland Town

It’s easy to see why Penny Barrett was so enamored with Boquete when she visited in 2003. Located in the highlands of Panama, near the border of Costa Rica, this town is a shock of color and natural growth: rich green mountains and valleys, bougainvillea and other flowers growing wild, and plantations and farms growing everything from coffee to bananas and pineapples.

It’s the weather here that encourages so much to grow. The temperature is comfortable, offering spring-like weather year round.

And there’s plenty to do in Boquete—a benefit that Penny has taken full advantage of.

She moved down permanently in 2004…and has never been at a loss for something to do. Since her move, she’s built a new house on the adjacent lot to her property and rents out the original house.

And, having the desire to keep busy as well as to meet new people and integrate fully into her new community, this feisty, organized, compassionate woman from Grand Rapids, Michigan began doing charity work. In true Penny fashion, it has been full steam ahead ever since.

Far from enjoying a slow retirement, she has a full roster of activities to enjoy. She’s now a partner in an expat-owned local business called Chiriqui Mini Storage, a volunteer for the Handicap Foundation, and is the “news lady” for the News.Boquete email distribution system (which keeps everyone informed of all the latest happenings in and around the town).

She is also president of an organization which is very important to her—and one that makes a great difference to the local community. Every year, businesses as well as private donors, donate everything from jewelry, to chiropractic sessions, to legal consultations, craft items, hotel rooms, spa treatments and paintings. These are then sold in a silent auction. This year a beautiful yearling quarter horse has even been generously donated by a local resident and is on the auction list.

“To the best of my knowledge, this organization is the only one in Panama with volunteers and participants across the community,” she says. “Not just expats but volunteers from across the three major ethnic groups (gringos, Latinos, and indigenous).”

At present, Penny is also busy organizing the activities that will take place on the auction day.

Located at Boquete’s beautiful feria grounds, there will be numerous additional activities such as a huge “venta de patio” (patio sale), a bake sale, delicious food concessions, children’s games, and more.

Since Penny became president of this organization she and her two head cohorts, affectionately known as Las Tres Mujeres (“The Three Women”) have labored tirelessly to expand and improve the auction and other fundraisers. They’ve succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

If you want a more satisfying and fulfilling life, you’ll find it readily in this great country. Just ask Las Tres Mujeres!

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