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Andrew and Wilder

13th of July, 2023


Panama II

One student from each center was able to journal today:

Andrew M

The relationship established between students of shoulder to shoulder and young students of Panama is built on the ability to communicate physically as well as emotionally through empathy and constructive teaching. Our group on Cristolbal has been working on creating a relationship of trust but certain language barriers have prevented us from doing so. Another challenge lies within the project work and the introduction of new foreign students to a population who regularly meets new students from the United States. These children need multiple weeks to establish a long lasting memory of the lessons taught by foreign students and two weeks is a very short amount of time to cement these lessons that can solely be taught by outsiders and not their own homegrown teachers.On the flip side we have been making strong progress in the form of creating a form of trust by teaching the Panamanian children about the geography of the United States which is extremely important because studies have shown an increase in immigration from Latin America to the U.S. especially children who are recruited for sports or education. We have also allowed for them to teach us about their geography which while knowing the layout of a certain country this was a good strategy to give the kids the superior edge when it came to education and it opens them up to a foreign student and from there is more likely to listen on a student to student level rather than a teacher to student level. Our job here, from my perspective, is an opportunity to communicate with students of a developing country and rather them grow up and be persuaded and manipulated by local teachers to like or dislike something out of bias, there is a seed of remembrance and the gift of physically meeting foreign students who have less bias and our working for their benefit without any ulterior motive except for gaining the trust of younger generations to create a long lasting line of communication between all peoples.

Wilder B

Shoulder to Shoulder has shown us students what it means to live in an island town in a developing country. We have been submerged into the culture of Bastimentos and have been learning new things every day. The food here is unique and very tasty. I am always looking forward to breakfast, lunch, and dinner and am hoping for some ripe fruit as a snack. Lewis and his wife, the owners of the hostel we are staying at, are very nice and have been making breakfast for us as long as some dinners. I’d say our group has gotten along very well so far and I am hoping it will stay that way. Our itinerary has already been really exciting. So far we have gone to a bat cave, Red Frog Beach, and Wizards Beach. Red Frog was personally my favorite because the water was so warm and transparent. Our work at the Bastimentos afternoon center started off hard but has gotten easier these last couple of days. The kids are very hard to group up and can easily lose focus if they aren’t enjoying the activity we are doing at the time. Today Tani, the organizer at the afternoon center, helped get all the kids inside to play some fun name games. I have had a lot of fun interacting with the kids and being able to speak Spanish and I am eagerly looking forward to what is next.



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