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The past two weeks have been a whirlwind, but Discover A has finally come to an end, and as the final day wore on and participants prepared to fly back home, they faced some hard goodbyes after making friendships that will last a lifetime. I will say that they will go back to their communities ready to become young leaders, better prepared for challenges yet to come.

After an early morning of debriefing activities with our project leadership team, the whole group was off to do some touring of Panamá City. The first destination: Casco Viejo. This is the old town of Panama City: a colorful location near the coast with lots of beautiful colonial buildings. Our participants were able to walk around the streets of the city, enjoying a very different view, full of contrast with the really developed modern Panamá City. With the help of our tour guide Guillermo, the group visited churches, monuments, and the local market to shop for souvenirs and enjoyed some ice cream before grabbing some lunch.

After lunch, resting a bit, and taking in the beautiful views of the Panamanian coast, our team hopped on the bus and headed for the Miraflores Locks at the Panamá Canal for a museum visit and to see the boats passing through the locks. The spectacular sight that this engineering milestone represents send our participants away to their last hours in Panamá.

After a full day of touring and excitement, the idea of saying goodbye started sinking in. But after some reflection activities and looking back on two amazing weeks together, our participants were ready to call home to let the families know all was well and that they were about to go back to the U.S. It is definitely a bittersweet moment, but keeping in mind all the things the whole group experienced, all the friendships made and lessons learned, a sense of happiness was very evident among all.

This experience has come to an end for our Block A participants, but so many good memories remain and hopefully next year we will meet again!