DAY 2 Update
Day two was tiring, but very rewarding. First we woke up at 6:30 because we had to leave the hotel by 7:30. I'll be the first to admit that I am not a morning person, so I was the last one in my room to get out of bed, but everyone made it downstairs to eat the delicious food provided by the hotel. After eating we hopped on the bus and went to a unique local community soup kitchen to help with the organization CocyDon. This organization collects, cooks, and distributes food to less fortunate people all over the city. The group was split up and given all sorts of tasks, I started out by wrapping utensils with napkins and quickly realized that Ryan McWalter was the quickest and everyone else could only hope to keep up. Other tasks included cleaning pots, packing lunches, and writing positive messages in Spanish on the food containers. Because of this I now know " Eres especial, nunca lo olvides" or "You are special, never forget it" by heart. Once we finished we took food and clothes, that were donated as well, and gave them out to the community in Paso Blanco, an impoverished town in the outskirts of Panama City. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the children when they received food and clothes is something I will not forget, and this opportunity caused me to appreciate just how lucky I am to be community that values stewardship and helping people that are less fortunate.
After experiencing a different side of Panama, we ate at a local establishment that showed off the true Panamanian cuisine, Dominos Pizza. After, eating our fair share of pizza we returned to the city to learn the Salsa. The instructor was very energetic and I danced until my breathing was heavy and my legs were tired. It was cool to see everyone having fun dancing(and falling). Finally, we ended with a dinner right across the street from the hotel, where we enjoyed empanadas, ceviche, plantains, and more.
After such a busy day, I am thrilled that tomorrow will be a little more calm. We will be able to see many sides of Panama as we hike up Cerro Ancón, visit both the new and old districts of Panama city, and eat with a local Panamanian family for dinner. It's been a great trip so far and I look forward to learning and experiencing as much as I can here in Panama!