San Miguel is a small town about one hour away from Panama City and is located near beautiful mountains and a river. It’s crazy how you can be in a hectic city one minute and in a very rural area the next! Driving into San Miguel, I was not surprised to see the way of life become more simple. People riding horses on the unpaved road, children bathing in a creek, chickens running around; these are all very common happenings in this town.
Going up the stairs to the only school in San Miguel was very different than anything else that I’ve experienced. The children were so happy to see us and started giving us all hugs as they said “Hi teacher!” Mind you, these kids have NEVER met us. It was just interesting how welcoming the environment was, even as we walked into all three classrooms, they all respectfully sat down as we introduced ourselves and made sure to reply to anything we asked in English. I was surprised because the kids that I normally work with are the most hyper children ever. I can never stop them from bouncing off the walls or running all over the place. Perhaps it’s just the respect they’ve come to develop for Kalu Yala and its interns. Regardless, it’s a great feeling knowing that they are already looking forward to working with me. Over all, the trip to the school let me experience a little more of the Panamanian culture and what I will be working with once I begin to teach the English classes.
Getting to know the people of Panama has been wonderful. They are full of energy and love meeting newcomers. They are very welcoming. It always throws me off how they can always pinpoint me as being Mexican, even before I speak. I’ve never asked how they can tell but you better believe I will ask next time. They truly are great people and have such a rich culture. I wish everybody could experience Panama. It’s crazy that I already feel this way and I’ve only been here two weeks! I’m excited for what is to come in the next weeks and the great students and people I will meet. I’m sure they will be the ones to make me forget how much I miss home…
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