What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
How long have you lived there?
What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?
At first I shunned the gringo/expat organized weekly meeting, the Tuesday Morning Informational and Networking Meeting. All the people were of retired age, I'm not. Then I started going, I found I had things to say and others had things to teach. they soon published a small book of the meetings minutes with recaps of many speakers. I learned many valuable things and shared opinions and even changed some opinions. We bonded, we drank local coffee, we bitched and moaned and rejoyced together. seek out such groups and see what you can learn or contribute to them.
In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.
This is a coffee town. The labor is provided by the Indians - the Nogobe Bugle. Women and girls wear traditional dresses and men wear rubber knee boots. They have their own places to shop and gather as do the gringos and its all good. Nobody minds or is wary of other social groups. Most gringos are well aware that we are just visitors, its thier country and the best we can do is learn, adapt, and be good members of the community. Contributing to the community is a good thing, trying to change someones way of life is a bad thing. Know the difference.
What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?
Coffee is the big industry here and its some of the best in the world. Tourism, real estate, building, development, adventure, are a few of the biggies. Career opps and jobs for gingos are almost non existant. You basically have to make your own way or bring a job, career, or business with you and then employ locals to work at it. The laws are strict and pretty much say- Panamanians first
In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?
The locals work hard and have lots of festivals. They honor the old folks, thier heritage, and way of life. They take time for coffee, for conversation. They are more then willing to show you and teach you and help you to find your place in their society. If you even try to speak spanish they admire you for that and even try thier hand at English or apologize for their lack of. Everyone says hello, waves, nods, gives recognition, an old fashioned thing that I missed in the U.S.
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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.
Be prepared to change your life. Leave behind all your pre concieved notions of how it should be, what you need, want, and must have to get by. EVERYTHING is different, embrace it, learn from it, apply what you can to your life but don't come here with demands, strict ideals, uptight lifestyle, and the idea that you are going to save a third world culture from itself. I find the opposite is what happens, it saves you from yourself and what ever madness you left behind.