“The Earth is what we all have in common.” – Wendell Berry

What types of challenges do Panamanian students face to receive a consistent education?

Hi All!

It is Jada and Montana here to write the first student-led blog as Liders del Dia!

Today, we woke up for another full schedule dedicated to the ideas of seeing the world and understanding more about the similarities and differences between a distant culture and our own. After a good breakfast of eggs, toast, and ham, we welcomed an inspiring group of local college students from the group Salvemos Nuestra Casa (Save Our Home). Our themes of the day were Environment and Education, so it was great to hear from other young adults about their own experiences and the challenges they face in taking care of the environment.

Practices such as not throwing trash onto the street or recycling in general are sadly foreign concepts to many of the people in Panama, and the college students’ efforts to plan, coordinate, and deliver cleanup days and other events is a constant struggle. It was theirs and our hope that more education and workshops with nearby youth might get the message out, so we headed to Valle Riquito where the Global Glimpse students broke up into groups and worked with elementary school classes on the importance of taking care of the earth – starting with where you live. We made planters out of plastic bottles with kindergarteners, painted tires with the older kids that will act as recycling centers on their campus, held push-up contests and played games with the other teenagers, and then sang and danced together as some of their musicians presented their traditional songs. It was a small “glimpse” into what was to come later in the day.

At our English tutoring prep session, we discussed ideas on challenges and advantages of teaching English to students who were anywhere from intermediate to beginner. We created a skeleton of a lesson plan and were allowed to individually fill it in with things we thought best suited our personalities. After planning, we headed to a local boarding school in the community where each Glimpser was paired with 4-5 kids and split off into different areas of a large auditorium to begin their tutoring sessions. These sessions consisted of ice breakers, grammar lessons, introductions, and active feedback. Despite our nervousness and hesitancy, every table was a success of some sort, and we all left after our goodbyes with high energy and enthusiasm. We will be back on Sunday for our next lesson!

Back at the hostel, we incorporated the “Question of the Day” and themes through a big discussion at our Nightly Meeting. We decided to make it a focus in our groups to place ourselves in the experience of the Panamanian students. Through that, we thought of the community’s priorities and their very limited access to nearby education. The students travel from their own pueblos each week to learn and live on the school campus. It also became a conversation of our own opportunities at home and the new respect and appreciation for the things we have.

Our group demonstrated courage today by stepping into classrooms with kids that held little to no knowledge of English and persevered past the awkwardness and significant obstacles of this language barrier. Commitment was illustrated through several of our Glimpers because some of the individuals didn’t hold a strong grasp of the Spanish language. We didn’t allow our fears or lack of understanding stop us from achieving our goals, and we showed much kindness with the local students and each other through numerous styles of support in our projects and planning. We are very proud of what we were able to accomplish in so little time.

Big Love Shout-outs! – The Global Glimpse leaders brought encouragement and patience during every moment of the day. Our native bilingual speakers – Jada, Leslie, Gissele, and Bryan were key players in translating within our group for the Spanish heavy lessons.

After a long day, we are finally ready to pass the torch to tomorrow’s LDDs, Arman and Bryan. They will be our lights for a new theme, Global Business Day.

Much love,

Jada and Montana