“Even in this high-tech age, the low-tech plant continues to be the key to nutrition and health.” – Jack Weatherford

As we partake in a Community Action Project with NutreHogar, a non-governmental organization that prevents malnutrition for kids under the age of 5, we must consider simpler actions that are community-based in order to achieve effectiveness. Throughout the day, we reflected upon two questions. One, what will our CAP mean to the community? Two, can one project make a difference?

CAP Day 1, led by Annakari and Lauren, was an opportunity to put all of our words and plans into action. After downing delicious pancakes and some fruit juices, we headed toward the NutreHogar center. The bus ride consisted of morning laughter and a puzzling brain game of “Who’s in the box?” that has yet to be solved. Upon our arrival, we spent an additional frustrating 15 minutes trying to figure out the game, but failed. We then broke off into our four groups and dove right into our projects. Group one focused on repainting the kitchen. Group two started to deep clean the entire facility (cribs, beds, walls, counters, windows, floors). Group three began sewing bed sheets and aprons. Last but not least, group four created an awareness campaign for NutreHogar in Las Tablas.

Members of the small groups were able to help with the other areas and spend time with the children, giving the nannies a break for part of the day. We spent two hours in the groups, getting a solid start to our CAP. Around noon, we enjoyed a buffet style lunch break provided by Nelson, our amazing cook at the hostel. With the mid-day heat and food comas, we all fell into a deep siesta around the building. Leaders and Glimpsers spread across the lobby floor and couches, and some Glimpsers fell asleep on the ground with sleeping babies on their chests in the main room.

After waking up from our rewarding breaks, we proceed to work for an additional two hours of hard work, sweating bullets by the minute and breaking it up with occasional trips to the nearby fans. We wrapped up our time at NutreHogar with heartwarming cuddles and huge thank you’s to all of the nannies for allowing us to be in their work spaces.

Back at the hostel, everyone rushed to the cold showers to wash away our day’s sweat, paint, and exhaustion, and to get ready for the English tutoring prep. We spent 30 minutes gathering our materials and finalizing lesson plans for our students. Next, we scarfed down the scrumptious Panamanian-style dinner. Our fantastic bus driver, Luis, transported us to IFARHU, the school where we teach English. At the school, we were instantly welcomed by a massive, gnarly-looking beetle that decided to give everyone an up close and personal greeting. After an hour of teaching, we came back to the hostel where we finished our day with the nightly meeting.

With our CAP in mind, the group reflected on the quote of the day. Given that the children at NutreHogar suffer from malnutrition, we realized that technological remedies are not the solution but providing basic things such as rice, meat, and vegetables are necessary steps to a good nutrition and health. In a modern world filled with innovation and advances in technology, society tends to favor a complicated and technical process in solving malnutrition rather than create simple gardens to grow food for the children. Keeping this in mind, we discovered a CAP that include manual labor (painting, sewing, cleaning) and a design component (designing flyer campaigns). Although our contribution to Los Santos is small, our CAP means a lot to the nannies and children of NutreHogar. We allowed them to take a break for the day and provided new faces and interaction with the children. Our four small projects in addition to big purchases such as dishwasher and dryer will lead to a sustainable change within the facility.

The 3 C’s of Global Glimpse (courage, compassion, and commitment) were exemplified by the leaders of the day and the group. To begin, compassion was illustrated by our attempts to interact with the nannies, our frequent visits to the babies, and the consistent check-ups with our peers. We showed commitment by actually putting our plan into action and working long hours through the extreme heat and humidity in the absence of air conditioning. Several members of the group demonstrated courage by taking a leadership role in each of the four groups and assigned tasks to each member.

Big Love of the day goes to all of the members and leaders of Global Glimpse, who spent five hours working very hard and starting off the CAP with energy, enthusiasm, and great effect. Through heat and exhaustion, the painting group was able to finish the kitchen; the awareness group finished the entire campaign, and the others completed the deep clean of an entire wing.

As we pass on the torch to the next Liders del Dia, Shayla and Sammi, we are thankful for the opportunity to develop our leadership abilities. We are excited to see two new individuals take on the hard-working and rewarding day two of our CAP.

Annakari and Lauren