Transferring to Panama

The trouble with working on a fixed term contract is that there comes a time when you have to move on.  My five-year contract in Senegal was extended to a sixth year, and then to a seventh, but seven is the maximum allowed and I am already several months into my seventh year, so when a suitable post was advertised in Panama (the same job that I do here but covering our Latin America region) I really had little choice but to apply.

I was successful, and within the next couple of months (I don't yet have a transfer date), I will be leaving my beloved West Africa.

Of course my new region will be full of delights.  New landscapes, new birds, new cultures, new music...  Many things that I should be so excited about.  & I guess that, in time, I will be excited about them.  But now all I can think about is how much I will miss Africa.  How much I love Africa.  How challenging and frustrating it can be, and how long it took me to find my place here but how happy I am now that I have found it.

Don't post comments about any of the delights of my new region or of the advantages of living in Panama, because I know all that, and at the moment it makes no difference.  That isn't to say you should be sad for me...  I am busy trying to see the last few corners of this region that remain unexplored (the Benin voodoo festival, and next month the Bissau carnival), to make the most of the little time that remains and to celebrate and be thankful for the wonderful years I have spent here.  I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to explore a region of the world that so few people know.


Phil said...

Well Louise,
Congratulations I suppose are in order, on your new appointment.

I must say it has been fascinating to read your musings over the last 6 / 7 years (not that I started reading until some years into it). It’s obvious from what you do and the way you write about it that you have a very deep-seated love of the place.

I could write something here about maybe being time to move on etc. etc. but you don’t want to hear that,..

so all I’ll say is Thank You !, for the insight you’ve given, to those of us that for whatever reason can’t do what you do & go where you go, and to wish you the best of luck in your new location & hope you feel you can continue your blog & tell us all about Panama. (I’ll be nice to learn about more than just hats, cigars & canals….)

…. Phil

Louise said...

Thank you Phil, for your very nice comment! I am always happy to know that people are enjoying my posts - and maybe having their eyes opened to some new aspects of Africa.

I will certainly continue my blog - louiseinpanama has already been commandeered although I will not post anything there until my move, which is now set for 3 April, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Lou, of all people, you will make a difference. I've followed your blog, and perhaps you now understand why I always talked about West Africa (Nigeria). It gets under your skin. Africa never leaves you, even if you leave it. Good luck in your new venture. Barney x

Louise said...

Thanks Barney - and yes I remember your talking about Nigeria, and that it really went a bit over my head at the time, unfortunately! Sadly we do not work in Nigeria so I never got to go there.

I hope you are doing well, wherever you are now...