20 June 2022
Yet another fantastic day filled with many amazing experiences here in Panama! We kicked it off with lesson planning for the remainder of our days at the community centers and a very informational meeting with The Sea Turtle Man. With the information he shared with us, we all gained greater respect and appreciation for the Panamanian environment and the places we’ve had the fortune of visiting this past week. Even with the resumption of school, the San Cristobal community center was packed with more energy than usual kids excited to hang out with us. Once again, both the alphabet game and Simon Says were roaring successes, as evidenced by the kids’ rambunctious yet thoroughly attentive behavior. After these games, I found myself in a situation much like a tug of war, but this time I was the rope. A group of kids pulled on my right hand trying to convince me to stay and play with them, while another quite strong individual grabbed my left hand in an attempt to rope me into playing soccer. Ultimately, I found myself accompanying a group of kids to a river near the cacao farm we visited yesterday to play with crabs. However, my favorite part of the day proved to be the trash pick-up competition with Daisy and Princess. We divided into two teams (one led by me and another by Princess) and had 10 minutes to pick up as much trash as possible. The kids burst out of the Internet and all were incredibly eager to get as much trash as possible to win the competition. Within 30 seconds, both of the bags we had for the activity were completely full of trash. The kids’ attitudes were both surprising and refreshing to me because the trash pick-ups I’ve found myself a part of before this trip was truly completely different experiences than today. Never have I seen so many people enjoying themselves while picking up trash. While it was nice that we won the competition, I was happy just based on the amount of trash we were able to pick up plus the number of smiles and laughter generated from the activity. We got 6-7 bags worth of trash in around 7 minutes and could have easily gotten more but were limited by not having enough bags or other vessels to put the trash in. Many shoulder rides, frisbee throws, domino, and card games later came time to depart the community center. Walking back to our ship with a kid in each hand and being asked/told/ordered to stay on San Cristobal and not go, I found it quite difficult to say goodbye but was comforted by the fact that I could also say see you tomorrow. As our boat was leaving with the kids yelling our names from the dock, I realized just how hard it will be to say goodbye in two days’ time with the knowledge that we would not see everyone the following day too.
20 June 2022