Saturday, June 15, 2019

Panama 2019 - Day 6 (Fri.)

Friday morning most of the group embarked on another small hike to a beautiful beach located on the other end of the island. Meanwhile, Katherine, Ashley, Latrice, and Alice went surfing. After 20 minutes of hiking through the jungle and slipping in mud, we finally arrived at 'Wizards Beach.' The waves were huge and the water was sparkling, so we couldn't resist jumping in. Some of us swam, and others laid on the soft sand. An hour and a half later, we packed up and hiked back to the town. We returned to the hostel to wash off, then walked to a restaurant called Alvin's for lunch.

After lunch, it was time to go to Cristobal. Today was our last day with the kids, so we were determined to make the most of it. Upon arrival, we were greeted with the familiar faces and sounds of the town. The streets were a little emptier today because Friday is a day when parents come home from work to spend time with their kids, but there was still the occasional 'hola' from kids peeking their heads out of windows.

"Today our main three objectives were to finish painting the playground, teach as much English as possible, and hang out with the kids. I helped paint the playground, drew pictures with the kids, got to play with them in the field, and made as many memories as possible. Teaching the kids English was one of my favorite things to do. I will also miss carrying the little ones on my back and shoulders and running fast. Even though I didn't get to hang out with these kids for long, I will cherish these memories for years and years." - Peyton

"Throughout the week I spent lots of time between each activity, however Friday was my favorite day of the whole trip because that was when the kids really 'connected' with me. After some time spent speaking English with the kids and painting, Peyton and I had a crowd of kids around us on the field who were mimicking us, playing around, and running with us. They seemed to really have fun and enjoy the time we spent with them. As a Latin student, it was difficult at first to communicate in Spanish and know what the kids wanted, but eventually I figured it out and it made my experience with the kids much better." - Declan

"I started the day off by helping paint the playground. Outside it was hot and the paint was sticky, but it was so fun to be around the kids. Lots of them crowded around to watch, and kept asking to paint with us. It was interesting to see how eager they were to help us and be involved. I came into this trip knowing no Spanish, but because the kids are so patient and understanding I was quickly able to learn a few phrases and communicate with them. I've made so many friends in the past four days which made it so much harder for me to leave. I didn't think any of the kids would want to connect with me because of the language barrier, but if anything it just made it more fun. It seemed to be enough for them to just know my name. I will never forget Djelen, a nine year old girl who greeted me everyday when we arrived and walked me back to the boat while holding my hand. She was always there to give me a hug and a smile, and introduce me to other kids. Just seeing her beaming face everyday made me feel like I had an impact here, even if it was just on one kid." - Carlin

"While we spent most afternoons in Cristobal teaching English, playing games on the field and painting the new playground for the kids, the most impactful day for me was Friday. This was our last day with these kids. I speak a lot of Spanish and was able to really communicate with the kids. I would play card games, give them piggy back rides and really anything they wanted to do. Friday was the most impactful day because I got to see the true effect of what we had accomplished there. Looking at the playground towards the end of the day was amazing. When I was getting on the boat to head back to the hotel one of the kids came up to me and said, "Goodbye Turner, it was nice to meet you" in English. This was just one of many examples of our impact on them and on me."
                                                                                                                                           - Turner

Sitting in the boat waiting to leave the island, one of us started to cry. Djalen was there and asked why she was crying. She then said, "No llore", which means don't cry. It was reassuring to see that even though we were leaving, the children were just so happy that we came in the first place. Leaving them was not the end, but the beginning of a long road to understanding the needs of people around the world.

Hasta luego,
Peyton, Carlin, Declan, and Turner

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