Today was our last day at Malambo Orphanage and as I sit alone in the kitchen of our hostel, I can’t think of many words to describe how I feel. I do know, however, that I have learned more from the children at Malambo than I could ever dream of teaching them. In just 2 days they have showed me what happiness, love, and dancing is truly all about. They find joy in a simple high-five, a game of freeze dance, a spinning piggy-back ride, and most of all, they find joy in dancing with the people around them.
In today’s time, it is easy for people to find most of their joy and happiness in material things. I mean, think about it, a child on Christmas morning, getting an upgraded iPhone, Netflix on Friday nights, the list could go on forever. The children at Malambo have very little material belongings, yet their joy is overwhelming and their smiles are contagious. As I left Malambo today, I didn’t know how I felt: proud of their dancing and learning, grateful that I got to meet them, or sad that I may never see them again.
The last feeling made me wonder: Am I just becoming someone/something else that comes into their lives and leaves shortly thereafter? Yes, I am leaving but I am also leaving something behind. As dance diplomats we are contributing to the process of giving orphans around Panama City something intangible to love and cherish that can never be taken from them: dance. As the end of my time in Panama gets closer, I find solace in the fact that although I am leaving them, dance is not, and never will.