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Learning, Connections, Impact

Author


Eliana W

14th of June, 2022

Category


Panama I

14 June 2022
Another memorable and one-of-a-kind day in Panamá! I believe I speak for us all in saying that every moment of this trip has presented us with invaluable learning experiences and connections to people with different backgrounds, lives, and perspectives. Additionally, we have been pushed out of our comfort zones and have learned so much about the different ways we can impact our world. This morning, we had the opportunity to visit a local recycling center in Bocas Town where we explored some of the environmental issues that the communities face regarding waste management, invasive species, and more broadly, climate change. We even had the chance to throw some of the glass bottles into the compactor, which I thought was pretty cool. Later on in the afternoon came our second day to visit the community centers on the islands of Bastimentos and Isla Cristobal. It was remarkable to see the joy on the faces of the children and adults alike as we walked through the paths of Isla Cristobal, all while greeting the residents as we amassed quite the horde of eager kids ready for the next fun sport or activity. I cannot exaggerate by saying that the community center, or as the residents call it, “el internet” (it is the only place on the island with cell service), is one of the most joyful places on Earth. Whether it be soccer on the muddy grass field, English lessons, or finger painting self-portraits with the younger kids, everyone involved approached it all with smiles and contagious laughter. Our highly competitive soccer match landed us all with nicknames that are bound to stick, and my back will never be the same after carrying 3 kids at the same time all while running around after a thrown stick or soccer ball. We have already built so many special relationships as individuals not only with the local children but within our little travel community as well. While we have taught our fair share to the students, we have also learned invaluable yet simple lessons from the delightful children we have spent time with so far. I have found so much joy in living in the moment, and cannot wait to take all I have learned; Spanish and otherwise, to heart in the coming days.

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