Tag Archives: panama

I’m Going to Panama!

19 Jan

As of three days ago, I will be heading to Panama for 16 days in April!

This is yet another awesome opportunity presented to me by my school. Each year for the past 6 or so years, my school has taken a small group of students to Panama where they have implemented various projects. I’ve been interested in this trip since my freshman year but in 9th grade it seemed impossible and in 10th grade I was already going to Guatemala. This year was my last year to attend (yay early graduation!) and I figured that since I was already going back to Guatemala that I would have to give up the chance to go.

But, then, last week, the price of Guatemala went down by $500, thanks to cheaper airline tickets and a few fundraisers that the school did. That, combined with the fact that this year’s project involved working with children convinced me that I needed to at least attempt to go.

So I talked to the teachers in charge of the trip and discussed the price and various activities we would be doing. Then I put together an entire proposal to present to my parents. This included a title page, a description of the trip, a list of reasons why it would be good for me to go (improved Spanish, more travel experience, I love Latin American culture, etc), and an explanation of how I would go about raising the money and how I would be able to balance school and everything with both trips. To my surprise, even though my mom burst out in laughter when I first approached her with the subject, they both said yes. The only issue either of them had was that I would be gone for a few days of the state standardized testing, which is a requirement for graduation, and I to make arrangements to make them up before I was officially allowed to go. (Yet another reason why I HATE No Child Left Behind.) Fortunately, I was able to clear that up pretty quickly.

I am both super excited and terrified for this trip. We’ll be spending a day in Panama City, including a tour of the Panama Canal, and then be heading to the town of Boquete for the majority of our stay. While in Boquete we will be working with Casa Esperanza to help eradicate child labor through “education, literacy, health, nutrition and personal development to Panama’s most vulnerable children and youth.” Our main tasks will involve assisting the children with their English, helping them with their homework, and just spending time with them. We will also be hosting an event in the town for them, though I am currently unsure of what all that will entitle. I’m really excited for this part of the trip. Even though we will only be there for two weeks, I feel like we can still make a difference to at least a few children.

Besides our volunteer work, we will be going ziplining and white water rafting on the weekends. To say that I’m anything less than terrified is an understatement. In all honesty, the thought of doing those two things almost stopped me from going on the trip. I’m terrified of heights and not necessarily the best swimmer. But I made a resolution to get over some of my fears and ziplining through a cloud forest sounds like a pretty good place to start. We’re also going to spend a day at the beach, which I am really excited for, since I haven’t been to a beach since I was 7 and, you know, foreign beaches are always cooler. 🙂

Have you been to Panama or visited the Panama Canal? Feel free to share your experiences!