Lindsey St Onge
Dame un paseo del caballito.
It’s raining right now. Which means I’m happy.
Today we woke up around 7:30am and had breakfast on our beautiful balcony and we were out the door by 8:15. We went to SOS Aldea orphanage in Colon, Panama. A very poor, yet very beautiful place filled with a population that has dance embedded into their spirits. Because of the city’s innate love for dance, we thought it would be an easy task to get the kids involved in what we had planned (or what we made up on the spot, rather) for the day. But, as usual, we were wrong. We got there and split up into groups with the idea that the kids would also be in groups and rotate in stations with us. Well, it was hot, muddy, the music was low and they were not excited. After an hour of pulling kids and saying “baile conmigo por favor!...por que no?!” we readjusted our situation, got a louder boombox and got the party going. When I came to panama three years ago, I was lucky to have Barb and Chavez both who spoke Spanish alongside me the whole time to assist me whenever I needed help translating. With this group, however, the only person out of all twelve of us that is fluent is Anna and she’s always running around like a busy little bee, so its left up to us to figure out how to communicate. And honestly…I know WAY more Spanish then I thought I knew and I won’t say it was easy, but it was challenging, and rewarding.
Note: Fist bumps are a universal thing.
After dancing with the kids for a couple of hours, we decided to take a break and just play.
In the cutest little voice, and the saddest little eyes, they would come up and say “Dame un paseo del caballito” which basically means, “give me a piggy back ride.” You’d give them one, put them down, and then they’d go on to the next big person they saw and again say “dame un paseo del cabillito.” Once they had made it around to just about every single one of us, they would come back and ask each of us again. Well, needless to say, it is extremely hard to say no to those big brown eyes, so we were some very tired caballitos by the end of the day. After dancing and playing and giving the kids our cameras and phones so that they could take 23049820582459345038 pictures, fight over the various technological devices, and be photographers and models in their own fashion show, it was time to go. We are not going back to that orphanage for the remainder of our trip, so it was already a sad goodbye. It’s crazy how quickly attached they get, and how deeply attached we get.
We stopped off for lunch at a little vendor stand in Colon for coconut rice, black eyed peas, and chicken and took it to the beach where we got to gaze at abandoned ships and pretend to be The Cheetah Girls (I’m Galleria obviously) and then we headed home to Casco Antiguo where our hostel is. After resting for a while we had a debreif about the day and a review of what the rest of the week would look like to get ourselves mentally prepared and excited. We did happy's and crappys, or roses and thorns, or apples and onions (whatever you want to call them) and I feel like our group is really getting to know each other. :) Then we headed off to dinner at Rene’s Café where Rene himself served us our 5 course meal complete with tres leches cake that Lili and I were crying tears of joy about.
(I'm obsessed with Lili by the way. She's hysterical.)
After we stuffed our faces and laughed a whole bunch Anna took us on a late night tour around Casco where we got to see and learn so much about the rich culture that Panama has to offer. And we saw a crab on the street.
We headed back home, and are still currently preparing to teach at our various locations tomorrow! Tomorrow my group (Alyssa, Brittany, Madison and I) will go to Malambo to work with the girls that we will get to dance with for the rest of the week until our big show performance on Friday!
Abrazos y besitos!