Updated: Apr 26, 2022
I don’t think you understand how hard this task is. To try and fit the wonders of the day you experienced and put it down, to write it out, for any and for all is a very difficult thing. And because of today, you are asking me to try and write out the entirety of one of my best days and the beautiful, unique, indescribable nature of human beings. I will try to take on this task as best as I can.
First, you need to understand one of the concepts of why today was so amazing. Not only were we widening our cultural horizon but all the kids on this trip grew up in Summit County, Colorado, a pretty isolated place. We aren’t used to people being so open, we don’t usually have people being so accepting. “I don’t like small children”-Victoria. “Small people scare me”-Eliza. “I want to race them, and win.”-Raymond. This is all new to us. And it was an amazing experience.
We started the day as we have been starting every day. By eating. Breakfast. Omelets and pancakes, at 7:45, waking up at 7:15 for some. Heidi had to finish the blog from the day before, and we talked. Then, as usual, we went back upstairs to get our things, came down, get onto the bus.
I always find the bus rides entertaining. We blast music, discuss interesting concepts, and look out to the new land. But after an hour's drive, it was nice to step into the heat of Panama. On the way to the river, we stopped to get all the snacks. Mostly for the people of the village.
When we got out of the bus, right away two of the indigenous people took our cooler down to the hand-carved canoe. We all unsteadily got into the canoe and sat down as they started up the motor and took us upstream. During the ride up we got wet, mostly from Raymond splashing us, and saw a cayman (tiny alligator-looking guy).
Reaching the indigenous village we walked up the steps into the actual village. Right when we got to the top, the people came out and start playing instruments for us, Gabe later told us that for them we are a celebration. Once that finished we followed the chief, or el Jefe, of all the villages who talked to us about the religion, culture, lifestyle, and much more through Gabe (our translator). Another group was with us, kind of. Then a woman of the village talked to us about how they made the baskets that all of us were hooked on. What they went through and how they got color. Then we had lunch. A delicious delicacy not too unlike fish n’ chips.
Soon we started interacting with the Embera people. At first, we kicked around a soccer ball with more teenage boys. Though others did join for a little bit. Then we all went up to the school, Raymond raced 5-year-olds up, and won. We played a real game, which Raymond carried once he learned not to slap the ball out of the air. It was Natives vs. Foreigners. While playing soccer, Cece got hit in the face, and we kept kicking it into the jungle, people kept switching sides, but it was fun.
When all the students returned to their studies we went back down to the hut, sweating all the water out. There, we were given tattoos. Interactive patterns were printed onto our skin for only $5. They are very generous. After that, we went to another hut and went shopping. Really beautiful crafts people. Clever and unique designs and great things to buy.
Once we finished spending, we watched a presentation from the Natives. Mostly women. A dance. Once they showed us three of their tribal dances the young kids ran up to grab their dance partners. Then we walked around in a circle with our new little friends. Little people with big hearts. That is the beautiful thing and what made it so special, this whole trip, the people. After spending even more money we got back on the boat and said “bia bua” (thank you in Embera) and “adios”.
Once getting back to Panama City we got free time. Ms. Monroe swam alone, while the kids went to explore the town around our hotel (with our trusty Jr Chaperone- Kaden). Going shopping, and eating, but not too much that we weren’t hungry for the chicken wings at our hotel dinner.
To finish this wonderful day we did check-in like every night. And as some of us lay here writing this blog others are down in the pool swimming, while others still are watching TV shows.
(Sorry if this was long, I told you, it is hard.)
”Be like Eliza.” -Me