1st May. Panama City. In Memoriam

 

Rafael

RAFAEL  PORTELES

I am indebted to Charly Walmsley of Argentina for his translation skills.

Since a chance meeting on a petrol filling forecourt in Pasto, Colombia a few short weeks ago,

A partir de un encuentro casual en una estacion de servicio en Pasto Colombia, hace unas semanas

many friendships have been made and we have been fortunate to meet some truly kind and generous people

hemos hecho muchos amigos, y muy afortunados de que eran gente  tan amable y generosa 

One such is Hugo Saurez Fiat in Cali, Colombia, whose introductions and contacts have made our

Uno de ellos es Hugo Suarez Fiat en cali, Colombia, cuyas presentaciones y contactos han hecho de nuestro

journey through Colombia and now Panama such a great pleasure. Hugo contacted his brother

viaje por Colombia y ahora Panama un  placer. Hugo nos contacto con su hermano

Ricardo who lives in Panama City, with his wife Dora, asking him to meet us at the airport in

Ricardo quien vive en la ciudad de Panama, con su señora Dora, a quien pedimos nos reciba en el aeropuerto de

Panama. When we arrived Ricardo had enlisted the help of his good friend Rafael Porteles to

Panama. Cuando llegamos Ricardo tenia la asistencia de su buen amigo Rafael Porteles para

provide additional car space for the four of us and our luggage. We spent the remainder of that day

transportarnos y nuestras valijas. El resto del dia lo pasamos con

with Ricardo, Dora and Rafael, visiting the Panama Canal, having a delicious lunch and enjoying a

Ricardo, Dora y rafael visitando el canal de Panama, un almuerzo delicioso y disfrutando una

stroll and helados together at the Causeway. The company was delightful and we came to enjoy

caminata y helados juntos en Causeway. La compania fue excelente y disfrutamos las  detalladas explicaciones de

Rafael for his careful explanations of things Panamanian, in English for the benefit of the non-

Rafael de todo lo Panamenio, en ingles para los que no hablaban castellano,

Spanish speakers, his lovely sense of fun and humour, which was always made with a straight

su glorioso sentido del humor, siempre con cara seria

face, followed by a slow smile that lit his face with joy. The day passed all too quickly and Rafael

inmediatamente seguido por una sonrisa que iluminaba su cara.. El dia paso muy rapido y Rafael

returned home to see his wife with promises to see us later in the week, and an invitation to dinner

volvio a su casa para ver a su mujer con promesas de vernos en la semana, e invitarnos a cenar

at his home the next day.

a su casa el dia siguiente.

The dinner date was postponed, because Rafael was feeling unwell. On Thursday evening, we

La cena se pospuso, ya que Rafael no se sentia muy bien, Jueves por la tarde estabamos tomando

were having drinks by our hotel pool with Ricardo, who rang Rafael and we were very glad to hear

unos tragos en la piscina del hotel con Ricardo, quien llamo a Rafael y nos alegro saber

that he was feeling better and looking forward to meeting us over the weekend. On Friday Ricardo

que estaba mejor y esperando vernos el fin de semana. El Viernes Ricardo nos llamo,

called as we were at a local cafe and within minutes he came to see us. After the customary

estabamos en nuestro lugar de café, y en minutos vino a vernos. Despues de los saludos, 

salutations, Ricardo told us the sad news that Rafael had died at 03.00 that morning. We were, of

Ricardo nos conto la triste noticia que Rafael habia fallecido 0.30 de esa mañana. Quedamos mudos con

course, stunned by this news, trying to make it fit with our thoughts of having seen Rafael only four

la noticia, tratando de amalgamar habiendo visto a Rafael solo cuatro dias atras

days previously, relaxed and apparently fit and well. Unable to do more than our best to comfort

relajado y aparentemente bien. Sin mas que consolar a Ricardo

Ricardo, we parted, he to continue contacting the family and helping Rafael’s wife with arrangements for the funeral.

partimos, el a ponerse en contacto con la familia, ayudar a la mujer de Rafael con los arreglos del funeral.

Over the weekend, we learnt that Monday was to be the day of the vigil when family and friends met

En el fin de semana,nos enteramos que Lunes seria el velorio, se juntaria la familia y amigos para honrar la vida de Rafael.

at the chapel of rest to commemorate Rafael’s life. Amanda and I returned early from our weekend

Amanda y yo regresamos temprano de nuestro fin de semana

at the sea and collected Stan before going to the chapel. Diana and River were traveling from Costa Rica and so unable to be there.

y nos juntamos con Stan antes de ir al velorio. Diana y River estaban en Costa Rica imposibilitados de asistir.

We met Rafael’s wife and two daughters, his brother and friends and of course Ricardo and Dora

Conocimos la mujer de Rafael y sus dos hjas, su hermano, amigosy por supuesto Ricardo y Dora

were there. A friend, Carlos, with whom Rafael had worked, came from Venezula to say a few words

estaban alli. Un amigo, Carlos, con quien habia trabajado Rafael vino de Venezuela para decir una palabras

and Ricardo spoke movingly about his friend (see below) who, in the four short years they had

y Ricardo muy emocionado hablo de su amigo (ver abajo) que en los cuatro cortos años

known one another, had become like a brother. We had had printed for Ricardo and Dora several

que se habian conocido,eran como hermanos. Teniamos fotos impresas para Ricardo y Dora

photographs taken the previous Sunday and these were passed from hand to hand, the last photos

tomadas el domingo anterior, que fueron pasando de mano en mano, las ultimas fotos

taken of Rafael. Characteristically, he was smiling and happy.

tomadas de Rafael. Todas contento y sonriente.

Later in the week, Ricardo called to tell us that Rafael’s ashes had been scattered at the Piedra San

Mas tarde en la seman, Ricardo nos llamo para contarnos las cenizas de Rafael fueron a Piedra San

Jose, a large rocky island opposite the Causeway, where we had parted on our first day in Panama.

Jose, isla grande, rocosa fernte a Causeway, donde nos habiamos despedido nuestro primer dia de Panama

We met only briefly, but he made a lasting impression on Diana, Stan, Amanda and me. We were

Nos conocimos poco, pero dejo marcas en Diana, Stan, Amanda y yo. Estabamos muy

glad to have been a small part of his story and thankful that we could be present at the vigil to

contentos de ser una parte pequeña de su historia, y agradecidos de estar presentes en el velorio para 

support Ricardo and Dora.

acompañar a Ricardo y Dora.

As a postscript to the story, we were introduced at the vigil to his daughter Veronica and her

Como corolario, fuimos presentados a su hija Veronica y su marido

Colombian husband, who live in Medellin. Both spoke very good English and as we talked we learnt

Colombiano, quien vive en Medellin. Ambos hablaban excelente ingles, y nos enteramos

that Rafael had sent Veronica to England to learn the language and if possible to marry the Duke of

Rafael habia mandado a Veronica aInglaterra para aprender el idioma y en lo posible casarse con el Duke de

Kent, who was single at the time.  While there, she had in fact met her future husband, a

Kent, quien estaba soltero en esa epoca.Alla, en realidad conocio a su futuro marido un

Colombian, and together they spent nearly two years in England. We asked where they had stayed

Colombiano, y pasaron juntos dos años en Inglaterra. Preguntamos donde se habian quedado

and discovered that they had met at Thanet College, Broadstairs, Kent, in 2003 and through 2004.

y descubrimos se habian conocido en Thanet Collage, Broadstairs, Kent, en 2003 hasta 2004.

My Mother and Father had lived within sight of the college, often taking lunch at the catering school

Mis padres vivieron muy cerca de la universidad, a veces almorzando en el catering del colegio, my madre hacia peluqueria

and my Mother had her hair done there once a month. My Father died in December 2003 and my

una vez por mes. Mi padre fallecio Diciembre 2003 y

brother and I were frequently in Broadstairs during the following few months, attending to family

mi hermano y yo visitabamos frequentemente Broadstairs en los meses subsiguientes, ocupandonos de los asuntos

business. Veronica’s husband had many photos of Broadstairs on his phone and we found many

familiares. El marido de Veronica tenia muchas fotos de Broadstairs en su telefono y encontramos muchos

points of contact in places he had worked and in which we had been to eat and have coffee. The

lugares en comun en que el habia trabajado, nosotros comer o tomar cafe.

coincidence, so far from home, was quite startling and made us feel a very personal touch of contact with Rafael’s family.

La coincidencia, tan lejos de casa, era asombrosa, y nos hizo sentir muy cerca de la familia de Rafael

Rafael had told his daughter that, had he known she would marry a Colombian, he would have sent

Rafael le habia dicho a su hije que de saber se casaia con un Colombiano, la hubiese mandado a

her to Colombia and saved the expense of England, a story he would have told with his characteristic wry smile.

Colombia y ahorrase el dinero de Inglaterra, relato que nos hubiese contado con sonrisa caracteristica.

 

Tributo de Ricardo para Rafael Ricardo’s eulogy for Rafael

Cuando un amigo se va…             When a friend is gone……

 

Cuando un amigo  se va ………

Queda un tizón encendido

Que nunca se apagara

When a friend is gone

an ember remains lit

that never turns off

Queda en mi alma y en mi sentimiento

la  vivencia  maravillosa  de su afecto

Remains in my heart and feeling the living marvel of his affection.

Queda en mi alma  y en mi sentimiento

La bondad  y lealtad  de sus  actos

Remains in my heart and feelings

the generosity and loyalty of his acts.

Queda en mi alma  y en mis sentimientos

la alegría  y espontaneidad de sus palabras

Remains in my Heart and feelings

his happy and spontaneaus words.

Queda en mi alma  y en mis sentimientos

las cuerdas  gruesas  de su voz al cantar

Remains in my heart and feelings

his deep vocal choros when he sang.

Queda en mi alma  y mis sentimientos

la confianza del  secreto  de  tus misterios

Remains in my heart and feelings

the trust and secrets of his mysteries

Queda en mi alma y en mis sentimientos

El fuego  encendido  del  carbón

La brasa ardiente de tu corazón

 Remains in my heart and feelings

the lit FIRE of charcoal

the glowing ember of his heart.

Queda en mi alma  y en mis sentimientos

El abrazo del amigo

El abrazo del hermano

Remains in my heart and feelings

the hug of a friend

the hug of a brother.

Queda en mi alma  y en mis sentimientos

El aroma del vino el sabor del ron

Remains in my heart and feelings the fragance of wine,

the taste of

Rum.

Queda en mi alma  y en mis sentimientos

la calidez   de su  sincera  mirada

Remains in my heart and feelings

the warmth of his sincere look

Queda en mi alma  y en mis sentimientos

el legado de sus enseñanzas

Remains in my heart and feelings

the legacy of his teachings.

queda en mi alma y en mis sentimientos

El esplendor de su sonrisa

La copa servida smile,

La copa vacía

Remains in my heart and feelings

the splendor of his

the full glass, the empty cup.

Queda en mi alma y en mis sentimientos

Las semillas  de su  jardín

Remains in my heart and feelings

 the seeds of his garden

Queda en mi alma   y en mis sentimientos

el amigo de la infancia

Remains in my heart and feelings

my childhood friend.

Queda en mi alma  y en mis sentimientos

El amor del PadreEl amor del hijo the love of a son.

El esposo amado

Remains in my heart and feelings

the love of a father

The loved husband

Queda en mi alma y en mis sentimientos

cuando un amigo se va……….

Queda un terreno baldío

Remains in my heart and feelings

 when a friend is gone

remains an empty lot.

Queda el amor del hombre 

Queda el amor  del hermano

Remains the love of  man

remains the love of a brother

Estarás  en nuestras  vidas

estarás  por siempre

en nuestros  corazones

You will remain in our lives

you will remain for ever in our hearts

Estarás  en mi alma

Estarás  en mis  sentimientos

You will be in my soul

you will be in my feelings

Cuando un amigo  se va……..

Queda un árbol caído

When a friend is gone

remains a fallen tree

Queda el amor  del hombre

Queda el amor  del Hermano

Remains the love of man

Remains the love of a brother

Cuando un amigo se va

Queda mi alma y mi corazón vacío

Y   No lo podrá llenar nunca la llegada

de otro amigo

When a friend is gone

remains my empty heart and

soul, and will not be ever

ever filled by another friend

Amigo y compinche

Una parte de mi vida se fue contigo

Friend and mate

part of my life went with you

Queda en mi alma y en mis sentimientos  

El viaje de tus sueños

Remains in my heart and feelings the travel of your dreams.

Ricardo

VIVA RAFEE!!!!!

Ricardo, Rafael and Dora

Ricardo, Rafael and Dora

Diana, Ricardo, Dora, Stan, Jacj, Amanda, Rafael

Diana, Ricardo, Dora, Stan, Jacj, Amanda, Rafael

 

photo

 

10 thoughts on “1st May. Panama City. In Memoriam

  1. What a shocking tragedy. It illustrates how tenuous life is and how important it is to live it to the full while it lasts. Your adventure is an example to us all. My condolences.

  2. Beautifully written, very sensitive; Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of the adventure.
    You are always in our thoughts.
    G and E
    PS have you fixed the outstanding insurance issue?

  3. Diana, Jack, Stan, Amanda,
    Thank you for sharing in Memoriam for Rafa. It was great meeting you. What an adventure, may you keep enjoying the big adventure while also taking the time to truly enjoy the most important part of it….the people that you meet along the way, reflected by the connection made in such a short period of time with Rafa.
    Eduardo
    your friend from Chicago

    • Eduardo, We will long remember the evening we shared and the very good compaany. I hope your plans of returning to Panama are progressing

  4. Jack , que lastima lo de rafael , DIOS lo tenga en la gloria , pues fue un agran hombre , ademas , saludoas a todos de parte de toda mi familia , que su camino este lleno de bendiciones
    SU AMIGO
    JAIME ARTURO CHACON LEGARDA
    PASTO NARIÑO COLOMBIA

  5. Jack, Amanda, dear friends: this adventure has all the possible nuances.
    cultures, subcultures, ancestors, modernism, life, and…
    That man will be in your memories for ever, beside other bunch of people than enriched your personal histories. I will be very happy if I am one of that persons.
    A vey big hug to help overcome this sad moment.
    Just think about what Rafael wanted you to do (I don´t know if the sentence is right, but you know the meaning, for sure…)
    Yours. Orly

    • Wise words Orly and rest assured you there with us every inch of the way. IT becomes more and more evident that we are accomplishing this journey for all that have talked to us, seen the cars, helped in small and big ways, advised, sent encouragement and wished us well. Without all of you it would have been much harder and not so much fun. Thank you each and every one of you, from the Austin Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *