Today was our last full day as a group in Panama. I was able to be the last leader of the day and it went smoothly, despite it being a packed and emotional day with Glimpsers not wanting this trip to end.
Our day began with us conversing about how we didn’t want to leave Chitre. It was our last breakfast at Hotel Bali so we made the most of it. After I repeated the question of the day, we packed our bags and awaited the bus to arrive for us to head to Panama city. While we waited it was decided to have one last empanada run to our favorite nearby bakery. It was a little taste of our home for the last 15 days until we actually left Chitre. Once we came back from our run, the bus arrived and we gathered our belongings into the bus for a staggering 4 hour bus ride to Panama City. But before the long ride, we stopped at a souvenir shop to pick up things we wanted to take back to the States to remind us of our extraordinary experience. Masks, paintings, and other fairly small arts and crafts. We got back on the bus, ate snacks and exchanged phone numbers and social media handles. This meant a lot to everyone as we wanted to push for connecting and lasting friendships.
With about an hour left, we stopped for lunch at Niko’s where we ate meals of chicken and rice or sandwiches and fries. While ordering our food it literally started pouring rain out of nowhere for about 30 minutes. We were amazed at the drastic change in weather and conversed about it. This was significant because when we first arrived in Panama and ate at Nikos, we weren’t as close as we are now. There has been so much growth since then. We finished our food and got back on the bus to the Panama Canal. We got there, received our tickets, and were enriched with knowledge about how the Panama Canal was built and its effects on the economy of Panama and on our world today. It was a great experience learning about the canal and then watching ships be guided along it. Many many many pictures were taken for the long lasting memory of this delegation’s last sight seeing activity.
Once we reached Hotel Gemar, we drafted, edited and completed our letters to the donors of the program who helped give us a glimpse of how the other side of the world looks. Then everything became emotional and it was tough knowing our last night was tonight.
Tomorrow, Thursday July 18th, we are scheduled to depart Panama City Airport on United Airways at 9:30 am (local time), and land at 3:30pm in Newark Airport. Please be on the lookout for any updates.