Time is flying! As I knew it would :) This past week of teaching was great! I really felt like I connected better with the kids in my class and got to know them and their backgrounds a little more so that I could relate and teach them in the most effective way possible. I found out that I have students in my class from Panama, the U.S., China, Poland, Netherlands, Mexico, Guatemala, and Russia. A lot of them are tri-lingual with neither English nor Spanish being their first language! From a teacher’s perspective, this seems like a nightmare, I think it’s awesome! However it is difficult to try and reach them where they are. It is interesting to see how their culture affects how they do their homework or what they put importance on. I was talking to the little girl whose family moved here from the Netherlands last year and told her that my family was also from the Netherlands. She was very excited about this and after school she ran up to me with her Mom who started chatting with me in Dutch! I was like, oh I don’t speak Dutch! My grandparents are from there, but I’m pretty much just American. Haha They seemed very confused by this. So your family is from there and you don’t speak Dutch??? Why in the world not???
This Friday was an in service day for the teachers at CCA. A few weeks ago in church they were talking about a ministry that the church/school has in the heart of Panama City in a place called Curundu. This is like the ghetto of Panama. A very poor section of town where people who don’t want their car stolen stay away from. Because of the great poverty and need there, they started a day care where single Mom’s could take their kids so they could look for work and not worry about their babies. This really took off and they actually turned it into a school. They only have pre-school and Kindergarten right now, but they want to add first grade next year. The problem is, they have no money, no supplies and the teachers don’t really get paid (They receive a small amount but not nearly enough to live on) I asked Mr. Bose if the three of us teacher’s could go down one day and check it out! So this Friday, we went to Curundu and were able to teach Kindergarten for a day! To be honest it is one of the highlights of my trip so far. The kids were adorable and just hung on us the whole time. It really reminded me of my missions’ trips to El Salvador and Honduras. Their teacher Rachel was an inspiration. She is an example of a teacher who is truly in it for God and the kids; it’s definitely not the money…or location… Her impact on their lives is huge! Maybe she can have a small part of breaking the cycle of poverty, brokenness and poor choices by giving them an education, and a godly one at that. I came away excited thinking that maybe one day I could have an impact like that.
This weekend Brittany, Brynna and I went on a boat ride down the Panama Canal! It was amazing! I learned so much and got to see some awesome sights. We were able to pass through the Continental Divide in the only place that there is a gap in it. (To be honest I had to Google continental divide when I got home but I still thought it was cool) We were also able to go through two locks! Before coming to Panama I actually thought that the canal was just a manmade river going from one ocean to another, I was very wrong. Because of the difference in sea level they needed to make locks that take ships up and down. So you pull into this water tight container and they either fill it up with water or let water out so you can pull safely out the other side! It was a great day full of learning and excitement and I am thankful for the opportunity to experience new things. Well I have to go write more lesson plans : ) Adios!