Since I wasn’t able to continue volunteering with the Panama School, I was thrilled to get to visit once again on a field trip with La Mariposa. I even made Joshua run to the local store with me to buy some candy before we visited. Unfortunately, the kids barely remembered me…and just a few weeks before we were best friends! Also, it was the first official day of school, so there were so many more children participating in the activities than the 8-10 I worked with—so I didn’t even bring enough candy for everyone. I scrapped the idea. But Joshua was able to meet my little munchkin, Juan, who was wearing spiderman pajamas instead of the blue and white school uniform. And little Mariella with the asymmetrical bob, got a buzzcut for her first day of school. Mariella did bring me a present, though. I’m pretty sure she gave me lice. Joshua has been examining my head nightly and trying to reassure me that it’s nothing. Only time will tell.
Paulette provided us with more history around the struggles of the area and we visited some of the poor families of the area so they could tell us about the chore of bringing water to their homes…many family members spend 2-3 days each week fetching water.
We visited a women’s collective supported by La Mariposa with art made from recycled newspaper. No room in the bags or I’m sure we’d have purchased a piece.
After school, we raced up to La Concha for a gift for Batana’s birthday. We decided on a small piñata and a Rock n’ Roll CD (her favorite, especially Queen). She didn’t want a special dinner (or she didn’t want her sister Arielka to cook it), so we decided to head to the local ice cream shop for a banana split. Batana got one for herself and Joshua, Arielka and I shared the other. I made Joshua run home for the camera, and when he returned he smelled himself before he sat next to her…this made Batana lose it. She couldn’t stop laughing and ended up spitting her sundae across the table. In the end, another memorable Blass birthday!
Pedro wishing the pinata were for him.
Our first night he told us his birthday was in August. He wanted to make sure we knew when to buy a gift. When we said we weren’t going to be in La Concepcion that long, he reminded us that his patron saint day was in July. Again, we were going to miss it, but the kid gets an “A” for trying. Similarly, one of our last nights Pedro said we should probably leave UNO for him when we left. If we didn’t want to give him the card game, he told us we could buy him a bike instead!