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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Delivering School Supplies...

If you have been following our blog, you know that we have been waiting since may for a major delivery of school supplies from Canada.  After we got everything sorted out on the boat last week, we started distributing this week.  Our first drop was to help 80 children at Bahia Honda and 30 children at Bahia Roja, these two schools seemed to be a little worse off than most of the others we visited over the summer.

Unfortunately, they start a school break in a few weeks so Emily, the person from Give and Surf, suggested they hold off on giving the stuff out until the children return from break.  We agreed, and the supplies were given to the schools, but won't be distributed until the children return to classes after the break.

We did get invited to a community celebration in Dolphin Bay for the Dia de Campesino (which literally translates, "Day of the Pesant") in Buena Esperanza, a Ngobe-Bugle Indian village. This annual day of celebration features the farmers and their products and highlights the accomplishments of children who attend the village primary school.

The day included songs, dances, and the crowning of the 2015 Dia de Campesino Queen who is accompanied by a full entourage of Princesses and Caballeros.

A display of local produce from local farmers...

Local Flowers

Children getting the lunchroom/community center ready for the celebration

This years "Queen"

Making new friends...

The Peace Corps volunteers built this house for the school teacher and visiting Corps people.

We, and our friends, Mary and Carl were special guests at the village as we brought school supplies to all the children,

We were pleased that many of the songs and poems and speeches dealt with caring for the surrounding land and waters in beautiful Dolphin Bay. One dance the children performed, though, had us all laughing as we tried to imagine such in a U.S. or Canadian grade school. It was called "Dance of the Drunks"!
"Dance of the Drunks"
Participating in this special event was also the director of another school at the north end of the bay which we hadn't heard of.  Fortunately, we had enough supplies ready to go that we were able to help the 30 children from her school...  This was a real bonus.

Over the next few weeks we plan to see a few more schools before we take what we have left over to school in the south east end of Panama to the native communities in the San Blas Islands.

In the spring we hope to re-supply before we make the 5000 km (3600 mile) Pacific crossing to the French Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific.