Saturday, October 8, 2016

Warm Welcomes and Amazing People

I've been in this roaring country for a whole month now! I must say Panamá has welcomed me with open arms in each place I've been.  For my first four weeks here I have been learning Español in the beautiful cities of Boquete, Chiriqui and Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro! Now, finally, I am in San Miguelito, Panama working with 14 amazing chiquitas! I'm going to tell you a little about my month so far!

Boquete, Chiriqui:
Boquete was an amazing small town! I was there for 2 weeks taking spanish classes. My spanish classes were everyday from 1pm-5pm. YES, 4 HOURS LONG! It was very intense for me and at times I found myself very frustrated, but I was very eager to push myself and learn the language. I also lived with a host family, which made it even better for learning spanish. For the first week I was taking the class, which was supposed to be a group class, it was only me and the teacher....for 4 hours a day. Each day I thought my head was going to explode from all the spanish in my brain. After the first week, 2 more students came and I was no longer a lone!! One student was a girl from New Jersey and the other student was a girl from Germany. I was so happy to be with them and it also gave me more people to practice and talk with. 

Also, while I was in Boquete, I didn't JUST learn spanish, I went on many awesome adventures! Boquete was know for all of its amazing nature throughout the town, so I took full advantage of doing some exploring. In my free time I went rafting and hiking! Rafting was soooo awesome and I think I got lucky when I chose the craziest guide! Everyone in my boat and I fell out of the boat more than a handful of times on each rapid hahahaha. To put that in perspective, there were 4 boats and in the other boats, people fell out maybe once or twice on the whole journey down the 13 km river! I saw monkeys, iguanas and many colorful birds and I must say, Twas an amazing adventure. 

After my rafting adventure, I wanted to try out hiking! I really wanted to hike on the volcano, called Volcán Baru, but this was the rainy season and everyone suggested that I shouldn't go. So instead I hiked the Quetzales Trail! I must say it was the BIGGEST, LONGEST, HARDEST hike of my life! I hiked 8 HOURS up this mountain and needless to say, it KICKED MY BUTT!!! Also, along the trail, I got to hear/see a monkey family in the trees and the sounds from them were awesome and soooo loud! But nothing was greater than the view at the top in the clouds! It was absolutely stunning! My time in Boquete was great and full of so much nature!

Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro:

Bocas del Toro was also a very small town. Most people rode bikes as means of transportation everywhere! Also this places had many other islands with things to do so everyone takes "water taxis" to get places. And by water taxis, I mean boats to take you from one island to the other! I also took 2 weeks of Spanish classes. This time they were from 8am-12pm and I started off with people in my class! In this town it was slightly harder for me to learn spanish because most people spoke english and there were MANY tourists. But here, I made sooo many amazing relationships with some great people. We went to the beach almost everyday and ate really good food! My favorite beach was La Playa Bluff and My favorite place to eat was Mono Loco! But I just want to say leaving Bocas del Toro was soooo hard for me because I made so many great relationships with some awesome people. Bocas was literally paradise and I'm really going to miss it and the people forever! Even though I was only there for 2 weeks it felt like a month had passed. I would like to go back one day before I leave Panamá

Hogar de Las Niñas:
FINALLY I am working at the girls home! I am working with 14 amazing balls of energy from ages 5-18 years old. They welcomed me into their home with open arms on the first day and they haven't stopped smiling yet. A normal day here consists of: Waking up at 6am for showers and doing hair. (For me, I've never done anyones hair besides mine, so this started off difficult hahaha) Then breakfast. After, the girls chill around, do homework they didn't do the previous night, or play games. Before lunch they begin getting ready for school, putting on their uniforms and cleaning their room until lunch. After lunch we leave for school to get everyone to school by 1pm. The girls go to 4 different schools, olders girls at escuela secundaria and younger girls at escuela primaria. They go to school from 1pm-5pm and in this time is my free time. Around 4:30pm the Chauffeur and I make our rounds to go pick everyone up. When we return the girl shower and begin homework until dinner. After dinner is chill time, then bed time! I am pretty much being a mommy to these 14 girls and I couldn't be more happier! No one here speaks any English and I'm so thankful for those Spanish classes. My first week has been truly amazing and I'm so excited to be working with mis chiquitas for the next year! 


  1. Brooklyn, you look so happy and I am so happy for you! What adventures. I love that HUGE tree in the rainforest. You are a great role model to those young girls. God bless you and keep you safe over there!

  2. Congratulations, Brooklyn! You are modeling the best of global citizenship. Thanks for your inspiration and your good work. Sending good wishes from STL

  3. What beautiful children! We miss you here and think about you and pray for your mission often. -Lisa Hummel

  4. We am so proud of you! You represent the best of Holy Communion and your family. Know that you are always in our prayers and stay safe! The Lord give his toughest battles to his strongest warriors! Love you to the moon and beyond. Karen & Willard Payne (mom & dad)