Those exclamation points are mixture of joy and fear at the moment. Fear because no matter what you do, at this point in the game it seems like there is never enough time. However, I slept really well last night knowing that the "TO DO" list is officially shorter than the "DONE" list.
After the grant was filled, there was a delay in Washington. The funds finally arrived in Panama on the 20th, so camp t-shirts have been designed and ordered, materials and prop lists have been compiled, and we have reservations for kids at hostels from one side of the country to another.
Matt is bringing 5 teens from just outside the Sambu Reservation of the Embera-Wounaan in the Darien. It is a three-hour boat ride to his community, and his kids have never left. They will start their journey Saturday the 30th at 4am to make it to camp by Monday, but Matt can’t wait to show them the Panama Canal, mountains, and you know, cars.
On the other side of the country in Bocas, near Costa Rica, Alex has too many kids in her town that want to come to camp. The ones who complete all the preparatory trainings and homework get to go, so we’ll see early next week who the final teens are.
On the nearby Kusapin peninsula in the Caribbean, Dylan’s 4 teens are the envy of the school. Thursday they have a meeting with the head of the local medical center to talk about community health issues and the role of a health promoter.
In the Ngobe-Bugle reservation, just a couple mountains over from where camp will be, Katie is busy building a new water system with her community while holding the training sessions with her teens on Sundays. They finished their prep work last week and are eagerly counting down for the end of the trimester and camp!
A few weeks ago Meredith, Ben, and I held the trainings for the 10 Alto Caballero kids. Their favorite part of the sessions? The skits of course! They couldn’t stop giggling long enough to read their part most times, but were very excited about learning more about theatre!
Meanwhile, Hennessy and Meredith are arranging the food and preparing host families for their short-term adopted sons and daughters. Ben, Justin, and Leigh are preparing their sessions and mentally preparing themselves for a week of high-energy silliness.
Katy graduated from SLU with her degree in acting last week, and Andrea is working on a few different shows in Chicago. Both of them fly to Panama next week Thursday where I will meet them in the City and bring them west to prepare for camp. We had a great skype date yesterday full of questions about packing, water, creepy crawlies, and culture.
Finally, I’m compiling all the session materials, scripts, props, and trying to find all the last minute i’s and t’s to dot or cross. Mostly it feels like my job is to fight with Microsoft Word over formatting. It’s not my favorite part of the process, but it’s almost over.
Thus far we have a lot of great activities planned, we’re under budget, and we have such a great team of caring leaders that no matter what, the kids are going to have an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. That’s where the joy comes in.