TOURIST DAY! We woke up at 8:30am and left at 9:00 to see the Panamá Canal but Anna, Typhani, and Lili stayed home because they had already seen it a few times. Mei-Ling dropped us off at the Miraflores Locks that is one of the three lock systems in the Panamá Canal. It was interesting to see the way the canal works and learn more about the history of Panamá and the way that their country grew through and with world history. I liked learning about the lock system that the ships move through to transport them from one ocean to another. It is crazy to think that a man made system potentially changed the ecosystem of our world by bridging different environments. We went and saw a short film on the building of the canal as well as toured through a museum with interesting insects, replicas of ships and materials used in the building of the canal.
Afterwards, we drove up to Cerro Ancon which is the tallest ‘mountain’ (hill) in Panamá. It actually is a pretty long hike if you are not prepared. Which we weren’t evident by our dresses, skirts, and flip flops. Tio René even came with us on our adventure. It was about a mile hike and took us 45minutes there and back and while looking out at the view of the city. It was gorgeous and we were so happy that we had the opportunity to do it even though we were so sweaty and gross.
When we got down the hike, the guard at the bottom wanted to show us some monkeys up in a huge tree. There were two little babies up with their mom and it was the cutest thing ever! He took a yellow flyer that we had for promoting our performance and put it on the end of a stick like a banana and the monkeys started to come down but we had to leave 🙁
When we got back, I took a shower and a short nap because I think I caught a cold. Crap. Anyways then we left for the National Theater to meet our kids for the performance! We were so excited and while walking saw the bus full of Hogar boys. Jesus, Migueleño, and Jelson all came running to meet “Cha Cha Cha” as they love to call me. I think they are the sweetest boys alive any though they love to make fun of me. I had not decided yet if they were loving what I was teaching them but today I knew for sure. They started calling me Mom, which of course made me tear up. A little bit of info; the boys stay at Hogar and only see their moms for 24 hours on the weekend mainly because their families are to poor to afford to take care of them. It is definitely bitter sweet to see some of them interact with their mothers because most are embarrassed by the situations that arise from their predicaments.
I helped Crystal and Jaimee get ready for the show by doing hair and makeup and giving them their costumes and accessories. They loved them and looked so adorable. I also painted 20 of the other girls’ nails my favorite color, For Audrey.
As we sat backstage waiting for our turn to practice on the floor we were having so much fun making videos and taking pictures. The ambassador came to take pictures with all the kids and then we weren’t able to practice on the stage so I rushed the kids behind stage to remember the dance and then onto the stage for a quick run through. The sweet boys were running around like crazy and made me smile throughout the show. They were amazing in their 20 minute piece with the Hogar group. The show had an amazing line-up and when we performed I have never been so proud of my students and their ability to pick up choreography and perform it so great in only 4 days for the girls and 3 for the boys. The volunteers even did Diguar’s dance really well too! Amazing right!
At the end of the show there were so many tears and meaningful moments that I have no words to describe the experience and make the world understand without being able for them to experience the journey themselves.
I love that I have found a way to be the change I wish to see in the world through sharing dance with the children of the next generation. My fear is that I will not have opportunities like this again unless I push and promise myself that I will. I did promise my boys that I would see them next year and breaking a promise to little children would be like dropping to a 1.5, so I guess that means I will see you again next year chicos!