Today was our first day in Panama, and it was jam packed with so many amazing and rewarding experiences. We began our day by visiting Portobelo, a gorgeous waterfront port town. Here we explored the old fort and took pictures in the ruins, and also payed a visit to the famous Cristo Negro in the church. After adventuring around the town for a while, we headed to the orphanage in Colon where we ate lunch and danced with the children! We ate a traditional meal of chicken, coleslaw, and coconut rice prepared by the different “tias” of the children. It was a peek into the lifestyle of the orphanage, which was split up into many different houses in which the children lived. After lunch we began the fun and dancing. The children were all fabulous, and picked up on the choreography quickly! It still hasn’t really hit me that this trip is real, and that we are actually making a difference in the lives of these children via dance. It is miraculous to me that interacting with these children really does make all the difference, and learning the simple routines we prepared for them actually has a positive impact on their lives. Though the language barrier is difficult, the universal language of dance makes up for the inability to communicate through speech (though I am slowly attempting to pick back up on the Spanish I learned in high school). That is the beauty of this art form. We don’t need to talk to connect with one another, we simply just move and the connections come naturally. After teaching the choreography, we had a small performance so all the groups could show each other the dances they learned. I was impressed by the children’s ability to remember the dances after such a short period of time! After the performance came play time with the children where we held a freestyle circle and danced around together until it was time to leave. These children touched my heart today, and I cannot wait to meet many more like them in the days to come, and continue to share my love of dance with them! 

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