Saturday, December 03, 2011

Panama - Day 2 recap

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Today was a fantastic day. We headed up to Sabanitas and a quick shop for some lunch foods and stuff before picking up the kids of a day at the water park.

Those plans got slightly delayed though when we arrived at the home and discovered a group of people from the local university doing a presentation to the kids. We missed the beginning part of it and arrived in time for games, songs and lunch for all!

The girls sang for them, the university group sang for the girls. They organized all sorts of fun games and even a real piñata (in the shape of a mermaid, no less!). There was a hot lunch (rice and chicken pieces) and a huge cake with ice cream. Besides some of the girls winning prizes at the games they played, there was also a gift for each girl. One of the youngest ones, I think it was Madalena, when she opened her gift and saw it was a Barbie type doll, her eyes nearly burst out of her head, she was so happy and she exclaimed, “Una Barbie!” It was priceless. Many of them came to show us what they’d received and were all so proud of what they had.

While eating lunch, my little friend Janilka from yesterday was sitting beside me. She told me she didn’t like her rice and would prefer to be eating the candy she collected from the piñata. I told her she had to at least finish her chicken before she ate anything else. So she started chewing on that like it was the last meal of her life. When she got down to the bones, she looked at me for somewhere to put it. I picked up a bowl from the table and brought it back to her, where she promptly SPAT it into the bowl. Whatever I was expecting, it wasn’t that she’d spit it out. Classic.

Finally, about 90 minutes later than planned, we left for the water park. It started to rain on the way (typical) and by the time we arrived it was really coming down hard. Keith was worried that the place would be shut due to the weather but it wasn’t. It was open and we all traipsed in. Pretty soon it didn’t matter if it was raining or not because we were all wet anyway. The next 4 hours were so much fun. Joan and Marlene played with the littler ones for a bit in one of the paddling pools. I joined a few of the older girls for a few trips around the place in the “lazy river” and then we headed to the big slides. That seemed to be the biggest attraction for the older kids. Later I played with some of the younger ones in a shallow pool. Estrella (4, possibly 5 years old) wasn’t too sure about being in the water and was quite scared to be close to the heavy falling water. She got pretty comfortable clinging to me and being swung through the water. When we discovered a little slide, she was happy to try that out as long as I stood at the end to catch her! She’ll fit in a hockey bag, right?

On the car ride back to the home, Joan thought to play “Eye Spy” in Spanish with the 5 kids in our row. They liked that and it made the ride go that much more quickly. A few of the older ones sang a little bit in the back row. It was a very nice and relaxed atmostphere.

Once home, we handed out the bags of school supplies and gave Marlene the Christmas gifts. The girls were quite excited to pen the bags but also quite tired after the long and busy day. While the girls were going through their presents, Rodelaida (13) was eating some pop-rocks candy and I could hear the sound of them popping on her tongue. I indicated that I could hear it. She offered me what was left from the package but I said no, that I didn’t like the feeling. She laughed and said it’s true, “duele” (it hurts) but she liked it anyway! Probably I would say the exact same thing if I was 13 again.

Keith had a nice surprise today with the visit of Ovidia. She lived at the home for a number of years and still stops by a few times a year to catch up with the girls and Marlene. She’s 20-something now and working. It’s encouraging to see that some of the girls still keep in contact with Marlene. I suppose she must be quite a mentor and mother figure to these girls. They’re lucky to have her.

Then it was time to say good bye. Quite said to think that I may never see some of them again. Rodelaida, Janilka and Estrella touched me quite a lot, in just one day.

Back in Panama, we went for dinner at Mi Ranchito on the Causeway and then for coffee/ice cream further down the road. A nice quiet evening after a long, loud, busy, fun, happy day.

No comments: