If I had a $ for every time I have been let down or shafted in this country, I would be a millionaire multiple times over. The timing is always exquisite and no life event is immune. Usually, you are left in the lurch when it is most critical or dangerous, never on pay days, sunny days, or when there are options. The majority of locals here are very charming, they just don't seem to care much about you or your well-being, unless you are family. I am fairly confident the pain is shared and felt by almost all Panamanians as well.
The problem for me is really not being let down in a serial fashion. It is that I am becoming a little arrogant and smug and in danger of becoming elitist.
It is a question of trust and integrity. To be trusted, to have integrity, is to be able to sleep very well at night, to fear no man and influence many. Relying on family ties is awfully limiting, even if you have six 'wives', a hundred children and a thousand cousins.
Oddly, I have no real problem with being shafted, cheated and let down, it has on the contrary been rather affirming. Knowledge is power and it is fun playing this little game of life, quietly confident I have the winning hand for me. The challenge is staying humble, so hard.