Tierras Altas: Until Next Time
Good morning, afternoon, or evening dear families! The Tierras Altas team has remained active in various activities, and for this reason, we have collected many stories that will be told below.
After an adventure-filled weekend with our host families, it was time to get back to work and cultivate memories of our community service and cultural workshops. On Monday, GORACE awaited us under the inspiration of reflections on personal improvement. The message made us receive the new day with the mentality that no matter how many obstacles, people, or challenging contexts are in front of our path, it is always possible to overcome the multiple myths that keep us from our goals. Said sentence, explained by Melquíades Rojas, was key for young people who seek to make a change in their environments and are trained every day on how to create a sustainable impact, in this case, in the Tierras Altas area. Once the work begins, we find ourselves immersed in weeds to cut, fertilizer to place in the vast plantings of vegetables and legumes, letters to draw to improve the organization’s infrastructure; and of course, a lot of physical effort to lift the shovels and picks as representative of the work, cooperation and unity of the participants.
In the first workshop of the week, we learned about race. The interesting spectrum of this topic allowed us to debate and question ourselves about how the history of our peoples encourages the customs of our present, and other social problems seen both in Panama and the United States, such as the reality of indigenous communities, the complex subject of migration that increases exponentially year after year – and we even analyzed how much ethnic diversity we find in our environment. Unexpectedly, the day ended with a dinner prepared at the initiative of some of our participants, which caused between sweet and bitter flavors; and in turn, a memorable moment of union between the volunteers.
On Tuesday of this particular month, we came back to GORACE. During a fun quiz of cultural questions about Panama and the United States, hot coffee to share, a recited poem, charismatic photos, and the great vitality and energy of the team that fought the strong winds in the morning, work continued focused on organic agriculture. It is accurate to mention the impact that GORACE had on our experience, thanks to the ecological knowledge acquired about organic planting, and the environmental value that will continue to flourish in our consciousness.
Also, we strengthened our notion of Panamanian flora and fauna with the dynamic workshop led by another of our partner organizations, FUNDICCEP. Led by Damaris Sánchez, with extensive readings on interesting aspects of Panamanian biodiversity, we presented group talks from different areas and provinces, National Protected Parks, animals typical of the region, and of course, the unbeatable and strange imitations of hummingbirds, owls, snakes and jaguars that caused a scene full of art and laughter!
A long-awaited day for all had arrived, the second excursion. Our destination, this time, was in Cerro Punta. Sometimes it’s important to take a break and relax with the pride of a great job accomplished at GORACE. To do this, the hotel gave us room to push ourselves to the heights of the canopy, or take advantage of our innocence, or rather a rebellion, playing in an exclusive park for children under 12 years of age, taking into account that none of the members comply with such a curious rule. After a lunch with few pizza slices, we enjoyed the pool and free time for long talks in a beautiful landscape, and clearly, with the enjoyment of accommodation that was in perfect harmony between modern and rural.
The participants continued expectant the last days in the community of Cerro Punta. The interrupted raindrops already contained an essence of nostalgia for our last nights where we received the warmth of our host families. Every night, we opened our windows, admire the wide landscapes, and portray them in our memories to finish our mission with AMIGOS satisfactorily. So well, the last spills of sweat were present as a result of our contribution to an organic farm associated with AMIPILA. Definitely, it was a lot of fun planting crops on the very steep elevations of land, and above all very gratifying to see that all our efforts made a big difference in the daily life of the agriculturists on the farm.
These two weeks in Guadalupe have been filled with an immense feeling of fulfillment, hard work, amazing mountains, shared dinners with our host families, games led by participants, bus rides filled with endless laughter, and many playlists that we will never forget.
Thank you, Tierras Altas, for an experience that will last forever in our hearts. See you next time!