Muddy feet, English lessons, airplanes & baby chickens…

Posted: April 13, 2010 in Community Development, Construction, Education

What do these all have in common?  Well, they are pieces of one of Global Humanitarian Adventures‘ projects, “Tread 4 Knowledge”.

A little background is needed, I know.  There is an indigenous village on Isla Colon in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago of Panama.  The island is highly developed as a whole, but a visit to this village will take you back in time.

There are actually 3 villages here, right in a row.  They are pinned in between the airport’s only runway & the sea.  There houses are on stilts to avoid the wet conditions & a trip to the store includes watching for planes landing as they run across the runway…

How did we end up here?  There are some local residents who have been spending time with the children of the village, teaching them English & basic conservation.  We took a group to assist with teaching, but when we asked how we could help the only grandmother in the entire village spoke up.  She asked for a walkway, a way to get in & out of the village without sinking in the muck & mud of this tropical environment.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see how much easier life would be with a simple way for children to get to school, for the adults to get to work or to market.  So, we took on the challenge.

Our group when on a scavenger hunt for materials & quickly found a pile of old lumber.  They found a truck, loaded it up & dropped it off near the airport.  Then, the fun part!  Carrying all this material across an active runway… the joke/reality was to look both ways & up…

After delivering what we had, it was time for lunch.  We walked over to the beach, rinsed off & sat down for a typical lunch – rice, beans & chicken.

Afterwards, a few headed back to the beach to play soccer with the local kids & others headed back to the village.  That’s when we witnessed the most amazing sight.  The pile of materials we had left, had already been put to use by some of the village men.  While we were at lunch, they had utilized everything & built a 75′ section in the time that we had lunch!

We took advantage of the new section, entered the village & continued with our original plan of teaching English.  Our group of UNCW student volunteers were AMAZING!  They dove in, took on the challenge head on.  The rest of the afternoon, we worked with the children, shared pictures with them, donated school supplies & even played with some of the baby chickens that were running around.

DONATE $20 Today to HELP us finish the walkway!

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