Tales and stories are extremely important. Not only are they a source of entertainment, of laughter, spooks and pastimes; but they are sometimes the best way of learning and transmitting information.
Each culture has its own stories, but sometimes not everyone who should experience these stories gets to do so. With this book, we tried telling a story we had never really seen before: a young girl living between two worlds, both Panamanian and Ngobere, traveling back in time to learn about the formation of the Isthmus of Panama, about great animals that no longer exist, about how people first arrived to this land, and about herself. Martina and the Bridge of Time is not just a story of temporal adventure, a time travel journey into a world of cultural, scientific, and personal complexity, but a story about a young girl who builds a wonder of engineering one day and is stalked by unimaginable horrors in the jungles of the past the next. Martina, like all of us, must face a world of complex realities.
Deep Time, the vision of history that extends so far back that there isn’t even any land to stand on, is the main theme we wanted to explore with Martina and the Bridge of Time. Planet Earth is old: the present moment on which we live is the last second, of the last day, of the last month, of the first year of our Planet’s life.. And this idea is neither intuitive nor easy to understand, but it is in this complexity that we can find a great treasure trove of narrative, educational and emotional possibilities. The vast magnitude of events in the history of the Isthmus of Panama may be our main theme, but it isn’t the only one.
We also want to talk about the massive migrations of species, about the first human settlements on the continent, and the often-untold stories of the original people groups of Panama. This book is also about systems: the scientific systems that iterate on the findings of our ancestors to create a body of work that allows us to see beyond our senses: through depths of the past as well as the distances of space; and about educational systems that, for one reason or another, have left massive gaps that this book tries, if not fill, at least call attention to.
Martina and the Bridge of Time. Martina and the Bridge of Time tries to be many things, but beyond a memorable adventure and an educational text, we hope it is a beginning. That people, young, old, and those who do not fit comfortably, can find in these pages the beginning to their own odysseys of curiosity. Perhaps in several years, some engineer, farmer, writer, educator, or jack-of-all-trades will say that their personal journey started thanks to Martina.