21 June 2022
Over the past couple of weeks, I have met a lot of eager kids who are ready to learn. Here in Panamá, the education system is not the strongest. While the Panamanian government does its best to help, it just isn’t enough. On Bastimentos Island, the island we are staying on, there is only one school that all the kids have to attend. There is only a few small classrooms that hundreds of kids have to cram into. They break the days up into two sections, with half the kids going to school in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. Many of the students and teachers can’t attend school because of poor weather conditions or no way of transportation. So this leaves many kids without education for some time. Where my peers and I work is at a small afterschool center with an average of 30-40 kids attending each day. When I first started to help at this afterschool center, I was extremely nervous. I was scared my Spanish wasn’t good enough or I wouldn’t be able to help the kids as much as I wanted to. However, when I walked into the small, one-room school building for the first time, the kids were so excited to meet us. Now, every time we walk in we can hear kids screaming our names, already prepared to get to work. It feels like every day I am meeting kids who each share the same passion for learning as the next. When I was first coming to the island, I thought I was just here to help the kids and better their education. But since working with them, I have learned that they can teach me just as much as I can teach them. They have taught me to enjoy the little things in life and to live in the moment. Over these past two weeks, I’ve made so many connections with these kids and I don’t ever want to leave.
21 June 2022