Stories from Panama: Hector

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As part of our blog we want to share our stories and its me toca to give mine.  Enjoy it.

Timid Hector

Timid Hector

Meet Hector: the first kid in Bocas I met nearly three years ago.  I remember our first interaction like it was yesterday. Hector was only two at the time.  While sweating in the Panamanian heat building a playground, Hector approached timidly with a death grip on his Uncle’s leg (first encounter pictured above).  I figured a funny face could get him to open up.  I was wrong.  It only made him terrified of the scene and me, a foreigner in his backyard building an unidentified foreign object or playground to us westerners.  We had many more encounters of terror and tears for the next few months.  Fast forward to the opening of the preschool: the first education program started in Bahia Honda.  Hector was of course the perfect age for this program, but only that.  He was watched over by his older cousin Ana everyday and would not dare leave her side.  I repeatedly tried to encourage him to participate, but he would not budge.  He sat in the corner attached to Ana and as a first time teacher I felt helpless.  Little did I know he was observing and taking everything in. Slowly Hector made the decision to become part of the classroom environment.  First step was sitting down for circle time, our way to start every morning.  It seemed like with each passing day Hector chose to take things further.  Poco a poco Hector was not only developing confidence, but trust and love for me.  Ana was soon no longer needed and Hector was on his own, a normal preschooler with an incredible few years ahead of him.

The Kings

The Kings




Fast forward to present day.  Hector is the leader of the classroom, the star student, and a teacher’s favorite.  I witness him showing the newcomers the ropes and greeting new volunteers like a mayor greets their townspeople.  Perhaps it was the age that made him shy and nonresponsive years ago.  Probably true, but I do know that our preschool in the jungle has provided Hector with a sense of self and the foundation for his path that I hope and want to be part of.  Hector’s story is one of many that is made possible because of the support we have received since day one.

Be here! Este Viernes para beneficiar la educación en Bocas del Toro, Panamá.

Póngase en contacto con Casa Nolita para hacer su reserva.

La noche incluye comida por Javier Lamarca de El Mercadito Biologico, un bar abierto, y un after party (desliza hacia la derecha) para celebrar el Birthday Boy @ciciliani!Sending✌🏾to the world from Bocas Del Toro 🇵🇦! 📷 : @barkerfoto 
#giveandsurfTake the leap in 2018 to join us as a volunteer, intern, gap year student, or one of our TEFL (teach English as a foreign language) courses! 
Learn more at to dive in! 🌊#giveandsurf 🌊Come be a part of our world at Give & Surf! 🙏
¡Ven a ser parte de nuestro mundo en Give & Surf! 🙏
#giveandsurf 🎥 por Isa {@sisamitty}Splish splashing around with Dora and her Bahia Roja classmates during our monthly field trip! 
At Give & Surf we focus on opening our students up to feeling comfortable in and around the water whether it is in our preschools, SOMP: surf outreach mentorship program, WOMP: women’s outreach mentor ship program, or our swim program! 
We have had the pleasure of teaching over 80 children how to swim, surf, and stand up paddle board! #staysalty #giveandsurfA standing ovation to the Jones’ Family who came down two weeks ago to not only share some Panama good times with their son, friend, brother, and our volunteer coordinator @party_over_here7, but who also whipped up this beautiful remake of the Bahia Honda bathroom and water system! 🙏
Good choice of color too! #gratitude #giveandsurfWe are riding high! New Give and Surf vessel is on its way 🏠! Dream Boat made possible by @blueparroteasthampton and ambassadors @ashleigh_s_rodman and @caverodman 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏! We are over the moon excited to see all that will be made possible in the years to come for education in Bocas because of our new 🚣‍♀️! #gratitudeAs part of Old Bank’s after school program we have introduced Zuli’s students to life on the water. Here we are SUPing thanks to our partners @changingtidesfoundation! #giveandsurfSurround yourself with people who reflect what you want to be just like the 🌊 and 🌌 are with one another! 
Thank you to all those that made #GivingTuesday a day of gratitude as we reflect on all that has been made possible by our family of support this year. 
Every year we roll #GivingTuesday in #GivingDecember so our fundraiser in our profile and link,, is open to receive your support till the end of the year! #gratitude #giveandsurfJust a few hours left to be part of our #GivingTuesday! 🙏and 👏 to all those that have give thus far on this all important day that supports non-profits around the world! #gratitude

Check link in bio 🔝Please consider giving ❤️ to your favorite non-profit on this #GivingTuesday! 
Just $10 will feed 30+ preschoolers for a day of education and fun at school! 
LINK in bio 🔝
#giveandsurfA very sweet morning alert that Giving Tuesday is TODAY; an internationally celebrated day to support non-profits from around the world!

Every year we at Give & Surf ask our supporters on this day to support our continued efforts with a donation to leave the world a better place for the communities and individuals we cherish in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Link in Bio🔝

Every individual who donates $50 or more will receive a special hand-crafted token of our appreciation by longtime ambassador Eric Adams! #giveandsurf #givingtuesday

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