I’m exhausted. Today was our longest Day so far! It started out a little rocky with an early wake-up of 5:15 a.m. and then a 3 hour bus ride that began an hour late, because our bus driver didn’t have the keys! On the long drive out to the coastal tribes I began to wonder if it was really worth all the hassle of driving out into the jungle and getting sweaty and muddy and nasty, just to get some footage that we could likely get in the city.
Man, was I wrong! Once we got to the village, the people were so friendly and welcoming and gathered the whole village right away into the center building to welcome us and explain what they wanted and needed from us, and us from them. We interviewed with several families, each one with it’s own story to tell. There were so many children with all different disabilities.
It was very eye-opening and somewhat shocking to observe the conditions that these people lived in from day to day, and yet their spirits were so high. They kept telling us that their faith in God was keeping them hopeful for better days for them and for their children. They believed that God had brought us to them to get the word out about the trouble they were facing and the help they so desperately needed.
After all of our interviews, they wanted to thank us by performing some dances for us. First the little girls performed two dances called “The Flower” and ” Tribute to Neque”, and then the older women did their own similar dance. Later, they invited us back to their kitchenette, in a tiki-style hut for a traditional panamanian lunch, made of rice and beans, and chicken. It was very touching to see them so excited to provide a meal for us, as they sat back and waited for our reactions to the food, which was pretty good!
Before we left, the women of the village gave us “Wa’s”, brightly colored skirts that they wear daily. All the girls in our group picked her favorite colored “Wa” and posed for a picture! We felt so special. (Too bad we had to give them back after the picture!)