I returned to Panama after a month in Pennsylvania in May and I realized that my focus in the Butterfly Haven had been on "problem solving" instead of on guiding the project into the future. Consequently, I was running in circles and stressed much of the time. Seeing all this allowed me to step back, look at the whole picture and see things as our visitors do. I also began to delegate more. Besides being more relaxed, I am now more present to the efforts and strengths of our staff.
Speaking of staff people, I would like to introduce Shaina Perez. She is daughter to Cleo (Sr. guide) As a tour guide, she is very pleasant with visitors and she also helps with flight house maintenance. She is studying bilingual education at the University of Panama. Shaina is also a mom to 3 year old Aivlyn.
The number of visitors in July was way up. One reason is that a national newspaper did an article about us and a national TV station filmed us for 2 stories. We even hosted a visit for El Valle's finest :)
A long-awaited change was to add and upgrade road signs. A big thumbs up to my sister-in-law Wendy who did the design work. Here is a small sign on the back street. This has also contributed to our jump in the number of visitors.
The first recent improvement we made was installing a plastic cover over the flight house in May for the beginning of the rainy season. This allows the butterflies to be more active during the rains and our visitors to have a happier experience. For additional income, I am in the process of converting and remodeling the 3 bedroom house on the property into 2 units. Here is a photo of the almost completed kitchen in the 1 BR apartment. Those beautiful cabinets are locally made.
I went back to Pennsylvania in May. But I included a layover in Miami to do something I’ve wanted to do for years-visit Butterfly World. It is the largest butterfly observatory in the world. While it is also beautiful and impeccable, there is one glaring thing that is missing; it lacks the personal contact of Butterfly Haven. This makes an enormous difference to visitors and explains why were just awarded the Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor, the worlds largest consumer ratings website. Thanks to all for contributing!