If you have spent an extended amount of time in Panama City you eventually notice some of the characters that make up where we live. The paralyzed man on Via Veneto, the man with a limp that tries to sell you a rose on Via Brasil, the mother that sits with her cerebral palsy daughter on Via Israel, the man with a severe skin disease in Obarrio, just to name a few.

When I see these people I always wonder how they got the way they are – what their story is – why they spend everyday in the street. Sometimes I give them my spare change or look ahead and say “no puedo hoy”. And then I keep walking, forgetting about them until our next encounter.

Meet Hernan

Mickey Keats, a professor from the United States teaching in Panama, has befriended one of these “characters” and wants to help him share his story:

The story first grabbed my attention in my Facebook newsfeed after a friend posted it. I immediately recognized the guy in the photo because I’ve seen him several time times in El Carmen. But I didn’t know anything about him.

I didn’t know his name was Hernan, that his difficulties started from a fever when he was only two, that he came to Panama from Venezuela in 1996, and fell in love with a woman named Marquelda five years ago.

Help Hernan Share His Story

A few years ago someone asked Hernan if they could if they could film an interview with him and after they did, they disappeared and he was really disappointed. So now Mickey wants to share Herman’s story through the making of a documentary:

I promised Hernan that I would do everything I could to help make a film about his life so that many people could see him and hear his motivational story. I truly believe that this will change his life and allow him to leave the streets. I am committed to making that happen.

Mickey found award winning producer/director, Frank Calo who is committed to the project and making Hernan’s documentary a reality! They have budgeted an amount of $60,000 to write, script, shoot and edit a quality documentary on Hernan.

The source of the funds is coming from crowdfunding so it’s up to us to make it happen!

Hernan’s story is motivational and I believe it should be made into a documentary. Despite his circumstances he has an amazing outlook on life and wants to be an inspiration to others with physical hardships to overcome. It’s also a chance to help out one of the good characters around us in Panama City 🙂

If you would like to support Hernan’s documentary being made, visit THIS LINK to make a contribution.

Experience Panama


I'm Joey, a guy from Louisville, Kentucky that packed up and studied abroad in Panamá at the age of 20 and haven't moved back since. What started as a semester trip to Panamá has turned into 7+ years of living in Latin America and becoming a full-time travel blogger. Follow me on Instagram @joeybonura for more updates on my life abroad!


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