alrighty guys, sending myself off from panama SO proper. headed to bocas del toro for 3 nights then boquette for 3 nights and going completely solo. bought my bus ticket this morning, heading out tonight on the over night bus. never traveled alone, and never for this long so i’m extremely excited/anxious/grateful to test myself on this experience and see the last two places in panama i’ve been waiting to get to all semester!
bocas will be purely beach fun times and a little fiesta-ing at night. i’m meeting up with a family i met in the city that has been living in bocas for a few months now (look up unstoppable family on facebook if you’re interested). we’re gonna have a drink and they’re gonna show me around before they head back to the states for some state side living for awhile. i plan to reflect, chill, and get a tan before i’m off to boquette.
in boquette i plan to hike the highest peak in panama right when i get there. it’s a looong hike, anywhere from 10-12 hours round trip, so i’m really going to be pushing myself, but at the top you can see both oceans and i’ve been waiting to do this for awhile now so i hope i can push on til the end. holyrunonsentence. [my brain is working really fast right now so just trying to get all this out before i have to finish packing and head to the bus stop!] also in boquette i plan to check out the natural hot springs, take a coffee farm tour, and a zipline canopy tour of the rainforest. it’s gonna be a great experience and i’m itching to cast off!
i’m gonna have to say goodbye to everyone tonight since most people will have already have gone home by the time i get back and i’m not looking forward to this at all. when i first got to panama i couldn’t help but feel like i was going to have trouble fitting in with these people.. everyone was not typical people i would hang out with at home, and i just felt anxious and like i didn’t quite fit in. over these past 3ish months, these people have become my family. they’ve shared in laughter with me, hugged me during tears, shared secrets, created memories, engaged in conversations, shared similar emotions.. i just can’t begin to describe all these relationships and all the growth that not only me, but collectively as a whole, we’ve all gone through.
the thought of me leaving has been burning a hole in the back of my mind, and i can’t help but to think about it as i go through my daily motions: this will be the last time i see this amazing landscape, better go to my favorite places cause i won’t be able to soon, is this going to be the last time i hug so-and-so.. it’s extremely daunting and sad, but is an inevitable part of life. i’ve tried to soak in all that i can from every experience i’ve had recently, let people who i care about know just how much they’ve made an impact on my life, and just cherish all these memories and events that i know i will never forget.
i know i sound like a broken record when i keep saying this, but words can never express how truly grateful i am and have been for this experience. the only way to describe my feelings during my time here is pure, untainted happiness. i’ve learned so much, grown so much, and never have felt as alive and amazing as i have felt being a part of kalu yala and in panama. the community outreach girls all gave our final presentations in front of the interns, directors, and CEO today and i had to hold back tears for the amazing feeling i had listening to my girls tell everyone just how much we accomplished this semester. i feel so incredibly proud of the positive direct impact me and my peers made in the san miguel community. i’m going to share a bit about what each of us did:
hannah: hannah is an urban and city planning major and wanted to put her knowledge to good use. she decided to turn the public space of san miguel into a bright and colorful place. her first project was to paint large barrels and place them by the river to remind san miguel inhabitants NOT to pollute the river. we had a blast painting designs on the barrels and they made their debut at our rio clean up day and are still there! her second project was designing a mural that she was going to paint in the “cancha” (a recreation space near the school). she designed the mural, got all the paints and supplies necessary, sketched the mural on the wall, and invited the kids of san miguel to come help paint. the mural turned out GREAT and the kids loved it. it really made a difference. now the cancha is bright and cheerful and a place to be proud of.
tiffany: tiffany was a strong presence in the school at san miguel. she taught K-3 classes and loved every minute of it. tiffany never took one vacation day, and really took charge and initiative in the school. her mom is a dental hygienist, so she had her send down a ton of dental supplies and information packets. tiffany organized a dental production, which she went to i think 9 other schools in the area and presented. the kids LOVED it and it definitely made an impact on them because now they know about dental hygiene and will hopefully keep it up!
lillian: lillian noticed the incredible amount of plastic bags that were scattered around the apartment from everyone going to the grocery store so often. she decided to make canvas kalu yala bags for us, and future interns to use, to reduce our ecological footprint and take a step in the right direction for a sustainable company. she also wanted to have the chickens lay eggs in san miguel. we had the chickens, but didn’t know what to do in order to have them produce eggs. she re-vamped the chicken coop, did a lot of research on chickens, and we bought a rooster! she also taught the 4-6 grades.
anyways, i really need to finish packing and get ready to go, but wanted to put a few thoughts down before i shipped out.