Today we had an early start and headed off to Colon on the Caribbean side of Panama. The drive was a bit on the bumpy side, but we made it with no problems! We arrived at Aldeas SOS in Colon in the late morning, but most of the kids were at church. We wanted to teach as many kids as possible, so instead, we decided to go to Portobelo, a historic town close by, and come back later so we could dance with all of the kids. Historic Portobelo is right by the water, so we spent some time enjoying the water and sailboats and took some photos with the old canons at the fort. We then headed back to Aldeas SOS to finally dance and meet the kids! We split up into 3 groups: boys, younger girls and older girls. The boys stayed with our two male instructors the whole time and the rest of us switched off between the two girl groups. Emily, Shauna, and I had the older girls first. At first they were a little hesitant to dance and move, but in no time at all they were dancing with us and doing all the steps! We lost a few girls who didn’t want to dance, but those who stayed and danced with us were incredible!!! We taught a salsa inspired jazz dance and you could tell they loved the sassy, fun moves. After a little while, we switched groups and started working with the younger girls. They absolutely loved dancing more one on one with us and we spent a good portion of the time just doing that and playing other games like freeze dance. We taught them a short dance combination to Rihanna, but my favorite was dancing one on one with them and getting to know the girls a little bit more individually. By the end, the girls were hanging all over us, dancing with us, and holding our hands. There was a huge difference between how comfortable they were with us when we started and when we finished, which was really, really great to see. Afterwards, we had a big group performance where everyone got to show off what they learned! Everyone looked great and it was so fun to see what the other groups were working on! My favorite part of the day was after the performances when everyone could dance together and play in the courtyard area. Everyone was smiling and laughing, despite the fact that most of us could barely say anything in spanish to them. I think our horrible spanish actually made them laugh more, which I didn’t mind at all!!We played around and took pictures for quite a while, but eventually it was time to head back to Panama City. Unfortunately, Aldeas SOS in Colon is the only orphanage we will only be visiting once, but hopefully the dancing we taught them will stick with them and they can keep practicing. Overall, we had an extremely successful first day teaching at the orphanage, and I know there is so much more in store for us tomorrow and the rest of the week 🙂

Adele

 

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