Buenas Tipos (What’s up Dudes)! Hadleigh and Em here 🙂

Due to a late-night jam sesh yesterday, we’re writing yesterdays’ blog today. We started our day off pretty early as we began our day of Working Like a Local. For this day, we traveled to Elilin’s home, a “guru” of cutarras. A cutarra is the traditional Panamanian sandal. We were able to learn how to make them, and their history.

Because we were the last delegation of the summer, he wanted to share with us the traditional method and style of cutarra. Brittany was able to experience this directly when Elelín measured and laced a traditional cutarra directly onto her foot. Elilín’s was inspired throughout his childhood by his father, who also made cutarras. Due to a lack of opportunities, Elilín was not able to attend college, so he became an entrepreneur and started this business that has become immensely successful. He is now able to afford a trip to Europe to share his artistic designs and culture with others. Although he was not able to pursue a major in art, he feels that he has fulfilled his dream by sharing his love and passion for art with others. Side note: We had the pleasure of also meeting Polly the LOUD parrot (Polly want a cracker)! He enjoyed screeching and singing while we were trying to focus on the cutarra process.

Before our scrumptious lunch, we were gifted some free time where we were able to create lasting memories and friendships while playing card games and making friendship bracelets. Later on, we lead the group energizer which gave us an opportunity to open up about our lives back home. We then prepped for our third day of English tutoring at the IFARHU school, having a more successful session than the first two. After this, the group bonding activity opened our eyes and united our group, turning out more emotional than planned. We were able to see one another in a new light.

Because of what we learned today, we feel that supporting small businesses is significant because their owners put their hearts and souls into their work. It was a very eventful and influential day.

BIG shoutout to my family and friends back home for supporting me on this awesome adventure, I miss you guys so much!! -Hadleigh

Shoutout to my Chloe dog and the others that I miss <3 – Em