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.

2017-06-12T03:36:25+00:00
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SOMP: Surf Outreach Mentorship Program has a whole new batch of students that are all surfing for the first time! 
A platform in which local surf mentors cultivate a wonderful learning environment for our students to discover the big 🌊! These same surfers will be receiving their first surfboards in a few weeks thanks to @yehudabenhamo and company who donated to the surfboard drive in San Diego! 
#giveandsurfEverything tastes better from scratch 👨‍🍳. We're cooking up some great things this year!  #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #explore #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitudeWelcome to the Wonderful World of Bocas! There are cuddles all around 🤗  #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #preschool #kindergarten #escuelita #explore #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitudeOmar is so full of excitement 🤸‍♂can you match his energy? #TinyToroThursday🐂  #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #explore #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitudeFound a Red Frog aka Strawberry Poison Dart Frog. This variation of the dart frog is found only on Bastimentos island in Bocas del Toro and is the most toxic. They usually hide under leaves and undergrowth in the tropical rain forest and stay to themselves. We love seeing these guys and treating them with respect! 
#BeautifulBocas #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #ribbit #respectnature #explore #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitudePour Some Spicy Böys on your rice and beans! 🌶#giveandsurfPreschool Project Update:
Thanks to our first group of volunteers from @surfforlifeteam and @salesforce we have made great progress on the new preschool classroom in Bocas. The first bricks have been laid and we are excited for our second of three groups to start work this week! We will keep you updated!
#giveandsurf #surfforlife #panama #bocasdeltoro #nonprofit #volunteer #travel #explore #volunteerabroad #giveback #island #surfing #gopro #adventure👩‍🚒 stop drop and scroll to: http://giveandsurf.org #giveandsurfSaturday’s Back-to-School event recap! The spirited Bocas community showed up in unprecedented fashion as we raised over $10,000 towards educational programs and services in 2018! 
A special salute to each and everyone of you for showing up and a tip of the 🎩 to @barcohundidobar and @bocasbrewery for providing this amazing location! #gratitude 🎬: @zafromannDaily Life of A Volunteer:

We are excited to welcome our new volunteer, Gillian, who is from Ireland and will be with us for the next month! First day of school and she is already fitting right in. Building bonds and spending time with these kids is priceless! 
The application process is simple! Give us your name, contact info, date/desired length of your stay and your reason for volunteering

http://giveandsurf.org/volunteer/  #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #explore #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitudeThe weekly #GiveandSurfReport will keep you in the loop with our many new program updates! 
Check out Bocas del Toro's newest halfpipe heroes getting familiar with our new Skateboarding Program in Old Bank thanks to @owlcat and @welcomeskateboards!  #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #explore #skatekids #skateboarding #newexperiences #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitude2 hours until our 5th Annual Back-to-School Fundraiser held at 🚢 HUNDIDO! 
Special thanks to @barcohundidobar and @bocasbrewery for the space and tasty 🍻! HASTA PRONTO! #giveandsurf🙏

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