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A Sweet Start to a Bittersweet Day


Mary Clare

05th of July, 2019


Panama '19

I started my day off today with a walk to the ocean and eating coconuts cut down by a friendly local, Raymond. The fresh coconut was a sweet start to a very bittersweet ending to our time in San Cristóbal. When we arrived at “el internet”, the San Cristóbal community center, the kids were already expressing their sad feelings with us about today being our final day. I became a jungle gym to three little boys as we walked through the jungle, playing hide and seek with Taylor, our Give and Surf leader. I was then greeted by two of the older boys and they took me on a walk through the jungle, asking me about my home life and what America looked like. They were so interested in my family and my culture, and their curiosity made it even harder for me to say goodbye. After the piñata, we were told that it was time to say goodbye, and this was the hardest part of the trip for me so far. When the younger and older kids asked me when I was going to return I had to answer with “yo no sé” (I don’t know) or “no voy a regresar” (I’m not going to return). My heart was crushed when I gave Michael, Adiel, and Adorro a final hug goodbye and they told me they were going to cry, but this feeling of sadness strengthened my answer to a frequently asked question on this trip. I didn’t know what my answer was when the leaders asked us at the beginning of the trip if we think that donating the money and sending 100 kids to university for a year would have been more impactful then us being here for 18 days, but after giving my final wave goodbye, I was sure that my experience here has been very beneficial for not only the kids, but for me. I have learned more in my experience here than I could in any other class, and I have made stronger relationships with the people here than I ever could imagine. I think I can speak for the whole group when I say that our 18 days in San Cristóbal and Bastimentos have made a long lasting impact on all of us, and have opened our eyes to Afro-Caribbean and Panamanian communities and their ways of life.



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