Photo taken by: Juan Cardenas 2019
At Balboa High School, you are required to do 100 hours of community service in order to graduate. So I joined Global Glimpse, a non-profit organization based out at Berkeley my junior year for a once in a high school life-time to travel abroad to Panama for 2 weeks. I was supposed to do 40+ hours of community service out there which was awesome. But, it was my first time flying outside of the city in 15 years, I was going with a group of upcoming seniors from the Bay Area and Boston who I've never met before, and we weren't allowed to use our phones during those 2 weeks in Panama.
Pedasi, Panama 2019 | Delegation: TAB1
In those two weeks, we had pact schedules everyday. We'd wake up around 6am to get ready for the day. We learned a lot about the Panamanian culture, the history of Las Tablas, the process of Carnaval Costumes that can cost up to $100,000 to make. We got to personally meet locals from a beach town in Pedasi where tourism grows but tradition is deeply rooted. We even met a Panamanian man from Canada who spoke English, French, and Spanish to one of our delegation leaders. We learned a lot about the difference between happiness and living comfortable, for many of the locals in Pedasi, having what they have now was how they lived comfortably. At Nutre Hogar, a rehabilitation center for infants suffering from malnourishment and neglegence- these infants are separated from their families who struggle being in poverty for 1 to 4 years. We even had a 3 day Community Action Project (Project CAP) which was awesome to work with an environmental group from Nuario and Peace Corps volunteers. We planted 152 trees, rebuilt a tree nursery, and built a school garden.
Hi, we are Alejandra and Genen! We were todays Lideres Del Dia. Today’s wake up call was the earliest of this week trying to wake everyone up at 6:30 in the morning. We were so excited to get the day started, we accidentally woke up the wrong people at 5:40 in the morning! (Don’t worry, it was funny for the rest of the day… at least for us). At 7:00 am we gathered together and ate a breakfast of bread with chorizo with a slice of pineapple.
Once we finished, we had a mental warm up where we talked about the town of Pedasi and the 3 host families we would be visiting. After concluding our mental warm up with questions in mind, we hopped on a 45 minute bus ride to Pedasi and split into 3 groups with 3 different families. Upon arrival, the families were very welcoming to us and invited us into their homes and allowed personal questions to be asked by the Glimpsers, such as their daily schedules, hobbies, jobs, etc. We also toured around the whole town of Pedasi and learned the definition behind “Pedasi Querido, Pueblo Colorido.” This was a name given to the pueblo because of a project started by a group of people wanting to make the pueblo colorful and welcoming. After touring churches, viewing murals, and taking pictures, we headed to a house in town to view a presentation on TeachPTY by the founder, Jose. He wants to create a volunteerism opportunities in Panama for young people to teach English to the youths of the area and explore the beautiful country. After a brief presentation we ate sandwiches with the families asked more questions about their lives, heard some guitar tunes from Spencer and Juan, and ended our trip with giving a gift to the families as a form of gratitude.
On the bus back to the hotel, driven by our fantastic chauffeur, Ronald, we were singing along to Disney songs, Bruno Mars, and Elvis Presley. Upon arrival at the hotel, we had an hour and a half of free time. Which was followed by a reflection of our experiences with each family, comparing and contrasting both their lives out here in Panama and our lives back in the states. We also got into deep conversations about the things we learned and can take back from the overall message of getting to see these families lives up close and personal.
We then had two hours of free time which people used to rest, eat ice cream, go to the supermarket, and encounter a Corpus Christi parade outside of our hotel. After we got back, we began with our English preparation discussion. Due to our students multiple arrivals back at Ifarhu, we changed our tutoring to a fun review. Tying up the whole day, we all sat down for dinner having fried chicken, salad, and rice with vegetables with a choice of fruit punch or pineapple juice. Once dinner ended, we set up for our nightly meeting and finally ended the night with an emotional poetry slam of “My People Are…” poems. This activity was extremely necessary for all the Glimpsers. Because of this bonding activity, our lights out time was extended to 12:00 am! This was so nice to debrief our day and the emotional roller coaster. We all had a great time and got a lot of insight of the lives of the Panamanian people living in Pedasi.
We miss you and love you, have a great night!!!
Sincerely, all the Glimpsers!
Pedasi, Panama Mural
Nutre Hogar, Panama
Roberto A. Villarreal G.
Pedasi Mural, Panama