Midterm is upon us and our participants are kindly reminding us that it’s time to call home. As July 10th and 11th came around, supervisors gathered participants from every one of their routes at regional hubs with trusted WiFi connections in Las Minas, Los Pozos, Pese, and Parita, which all are located approximately an hour outside of staff city, Chitre. After some friendly route reunion lunches, filled with amusing community stories and laughter, each participant had the opportunity to call a loved one.
As supervisors shared back “midterm calls” stories, some of the same feelings kept coming up. Contentment. Excitement. Adaptation. Growth. Gratitude. Participants expressed joy, relief, and enthusiasm to talk to loved ones during these sweet exchanges after spending 3 weeks without regular contact. It was heartwarming for staff to help facilitate these calls knowing that participants were able to speak with important people in their lives and exchange stories of adventure, challenges, and successes they’ve had while apart from one another.
Speaking from a staff perspective, these moments of connection we witnessed while participants called home made us reflect on the impact this experience has on our participants. While many calls were done in private, participants shared much of what they talked about with their supervisors. It was truly unique to see how different participants spoke with others. They were very descriptive about their experience as they covered a range of emotions, funny moments, and cultural experiences over their calls, talking quickly in an effort to make sure not a single detail was forgotten! Overall, participants were thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to parents, friends, and other loved ones about how hooked they were on the feeling that Panama was now their second home.