Kelsey Paradise
Medical Anthropologist (Washington, USA)

Kelsey comes to Floating Doctors fresh out of a successful undergraduate career at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. At Creighton she pursued studies in Medical Anthropology, Spanish, and Hispanic Studies. She was awarded the Jerry E. Clark Outstanding Student in Anthropology Award for her research entitled Bridging the Gap Between Tradition and Modernity: The Ethnomedical Practices of Ngäbe Traditional Healers in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

During her time living within Ngäbe communities, studying their ethnomedicine in the summer of 2013 alongside Floating Doctors, Kelsey fell in love with the people and communities that Floating Doctors served daily. It seems the Ngäbe community took to her as well and by the end of her studies they had shied away from referring to her as “gringa” and started calling her by the indigenous name “Meíko”. The connections that Kelsey made with Ngäbe traditional healers (curanderos) alongside a severe case of wanderlust and love of advocacy, prompted her to return to Floating Doctors to work on the NCAP.

Eager to continue her work studying and preserving the Ngäbe culture, Kelsey is committed to empowering the Ngäbe communities within the Bocas del Toro Archipelago that she now sees as family. She hopes that through her background in Applied Anthropology and a true investment in the relationships she has nurtured within the communities, she can encourage and teach the Ngäbe that they, themselves, have the ability to take the preservation of Ngäbe culture into their own hands.

Sam Shimizu-Jones
Documentarian / Cinematographer (California, USA)

Sam’s introduction to Floating Doctors came after six months of documenting and working alongside a Chilean-German street artist while backpacking across half of South America. He found himself eager to continue exploring the Americas, and upon arrival home after a three week job in Panama with Floating Doctors, he found himself buying a last minute plane ticket back for more.

A 2011 Loyola Marymount University Film School graduate, Sam has worked as a director and cinematographer on a wide variety of film sets and documentary productions across the United States, Western Europe, and South America. Although he is a co-owner of a film production company based out of Los Angeles, California, he could not pass up the opportunity to work with Floating Doctors on the Ngäbe Cultural Archive Project. For over a year, he has lived and worked in the Bocas del Toro province of Panama.

Sam believes that by working alongside the Ngäbe people, he can help preserve their culture, promote the longevity of their way of life and help bring to light the struggles that many indigenous peoples are experiencing as they interface with the modern world.