Today was just another crazy day here in Panama.
We took another van ride out in the tropical, rural regions of Panama to another Kuna village. There we interacted with two more Kuna families and interviewed them regarding their child’s disability.
The first family we interviewed included a child who was handicapped from the waist below. To move anywhere he had to use his small wheelchair (which was stored outside, covered in dirt), and he wore a small baseball cap and smiled as much as he could. It tore my heart out. He was so sweet and innocent. Come to find out, if he was to have surgery then he would be able to possibly walk. During the interview with his father, his father choked up while stating that all he wanted was to have his children run up and greet him when he got off work, but that it wasn’t possible. But what gets me is that it IS possible, with our help. If we are able to get this website up and running, we can promote the hell out of this organization so that these families can receive these funds and make their dreams come true. Hopefully, by doing this, we can make all their lives a little easier.
The second family we visited lived in the same Kuna village (since they live in groups), and had a 25-year old girl with down syndrome. She was super sweet and immediately hugged Erika as we walked up. She definitely had personality, playing with pogs and laughing during the interview. Her family had the same problem of traveling expenses and transportation. It was really difficult to listen to these stories once again. I can’t wait to begin building the site for Fundacion Bendaked and incorporating all of their individual heartwarming testimonials.
By the way, I just wanted to reiterate that PANAMANIANS ARE CRAZYYYYY DRIVERS. Mich almost got T-boned in the van by another van (picture listed below) and I saw life flash before my eyes twice: Once as as we passed a car on the other side of the road as a truck coming the opposite direction in the lane nearly sideswiped our van as we got back over after passing the car AND when our van had to brake so hard that all of us went flying forward as we barely avoided hitting the car in front of us. Unfortunately, the car in front of us wasn’t so lucky and hit the car in front of them…HARD. The front hood and engine were flattened, completely totaling their car. People should really learn to be more patient and become better drivers. Every single car you pass on the highway has some sort of dent or bang. We joked in the car that it was so prevalent that it was almost as if it was a “rite of passage” as a Panamanian.
Fun Moments of the Day:
1. Almost dying…..twice
2. Witnessing an accident right in front of us (not so fun…SUPER SCARY)
3. Mich comparing what day it is to the Jersey Shore premiere
4. Mollie kicking the cutest puppy dog in the world while all it wanted was to bite her shoe….poor puppy (hahahahhaa, just kidding Mollie)
4. Erika telling me that monkeys may eat my face because they’re one of the top 10 man eating killing animals
5. Purchasing Kuna mola & loads of jewelry & souvenirs from the local market!
6. Laughing at Mich’s deep chuckles and dance moves (while we dance to Paul Simon & Arrested Development)
7. Mollie’s head bounce
8. Me: “There’s fruit on those trees!!”
Mich: “Yeah, you’ve never noticed the coconuts?”
Mich: “We’ve only been here for three days”
Me: “No, they’re so cute, they’re weeeeee little ones (in a Irish accent)”
9. Mich almost dying. And yes, he could’ve reached out and touched the guy.