Today, I was líder Del Día. I chose to lead by myself so that I could challenge myself and my leadership abilities in an already challenging environment. I began by waking up extra early to wake the others and remind them of the materials they needed for the day and to give them a little motivation. Being líder del día was a lot of work, but I am proud of myself for keeping things in check and helping people stay happy and energized throughout the day.

My chant for the day was, “Salvemos las” and they would respond with “tortugas” which means save the turtles. That chant was a look into what our CAP project entails (which is kinda funny because turtles are my absolute favorite animals!)

We began the day taking a 45-minute bus ride to Pedasí where I led the group through our mental warmup. Here at Pedasí, we met our CAP project coordinator named Robert. He spent an hour telling us devastating information about the endangered turtles and telling us the importance they have in Panamanian culture. As much as I expected our CAP project to involve people, this project makes just as much sense since this is what the people wanted. Turtles are essential for the food chain to remain stable and for us and Panamanians to continue getting vital resources for survival. One part of the aid is LISTENING to the community and asking them what they want. It is not necessarily what we think they need, it’s what they ASK for. That’s something I learned today that I think is really important. We will be making a large hatchery for the turtle eggs as well as painting a beautiful mural for a school, promoting Pedasí tortugas while also giving the school a piece of art they wanted.

After lunch and rest, we went to our first teaching session! I was so excited and it was already such a rewarding experience. My students were so much fun and it was beautiful seeing their faces light up when they got a new subject. I can’t wait to help the students out in pursuing their dreams of learning English. Knowing that this will allow them to be more successful and earn 25% more than their peers who don’t speak English, is something we look forward to and are proud of.

Sorry if this made no sense, I feel like I haven’t gotten much sleep haha. But I wanted to tell my family and friends (you know who you are ;)) that I love and miss you all so much! This experience has been so rewarding already and I can’t wait for what’s ahead.