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Faraway Travels ~ Day 2 (June 14th, 2009)

July 14, 2009

Since my phone didn’t have signal, that meant that I was also without an alarm. Thankfully, I woke up at a good time Sunday morning, around 8 something. I didn’t know what time they left for church, so I just hoped I was awake early enough since it sounded pretty quiet. (Elli had already left the room.) After getting dressed, I walked out and found Elli mopping the floor. Some guys had brought construction materials needed for the remodeling of the backyard, leaving a mess. She was surprised that I was up and told me that the rest of the family had left earlier in the morning. They have to be at both services since Marcos is the pastor.

Then Elli showed me where the cereal was, and I had cocoa pebbles (or the equivalent of) for breakfast. At around 10-10:30 am, Elli, Raquel, and I were picked up by Daniella, her husband Elias, and their 8-month old baby girl, Alexa. It was neat getting to meet Eli and Alexa for the first time. Alexa is an absolute babydoll! And it was nice having Eli, since it meant I wasn’t the only American in the group. 🙂 I sat in the middle, with Raquel and Elli on either side of me, each of us taking turns holding Alexa.

It was about a 40 minute drive to their church in Chorrera. When we arrived, Elli showed me around the place, and I ended up staying with Josue in the kids’ room (he’s the children’s pastor). I then found out I’d come on a special Sunday for them: it was their 7th anniversary for the beginning of the Children’s Ministry. DCP_3260The room was decorated in yellow (N.E.A.’s representative color… NEA stands for ‘Niños En Accion’, or ‘Kids in Action’), and all the kids were excited. The leaders (who were all youth) welcomed me right away, even though communication was kind of haphazard. But we managed well enough, and they were really open and friendly. I was kind of unsure of how I could help, since I couldn’t understand everything that was being said, but there did end up being opportunities. Before the service began, I helped pass out party hats to all the kids, and at the end, the leaders brought out a huge cake with white frosting and yellow decorations, which I helped serve as well.

DCP_3265Afterwards, there were a few leftover pieces of cake, which they cut in half. Josue put them on a paper towel, and asked me something in Spanish. At first I thought he was asking if I wanted some, and I started saying no. He looked at me funny, and then I realized he was asking me if I wanted to help him give the leftover bits of cake to the little ones in the Nursery next door. Then I was like, Oh! And nodded, following him. The little bitties were so cute! The ladies taking care of them had them all go to a corner where little chairs were stacked and each take a chair. I helped them get the chairs down and then they all sat patiently as we gave them each a piece of cake. The last little one that I gave a piece to apparently expected to be fed, because instead of taking the cake from my offered hand, she leaned forward and took a bite. I was surprised and had no choice but to kneel down and feed her the cake a little bit at a time. Josue was surprised too and kind of chuckled, handing me a paper towel to wipe my hands on.

When we left church, it was around 4 in the afternoon, though it seemed that we were there for only a couple hours. On the way back to Panama City, we stopped to get gas. Marcos asked me how I liked it with the kids, and I said I liked it a lot. He suggested that if I were to come back, I could work with the kids. I said that’d be cool.

DCP_3273When we got back in Panama City, we went to the Causeway, the roadway I’d driven with Elli, Raqi, and Josue the night before. We stopped at a ‘plaza’ type place and met with Dani, Eli and Alexa. Then we all walked up and went to a restaurant that was called something like ‘Al Tamgor de la Alegria’… I can’t remember very well. DCP_3277But anyways, it had typical Panamanian food. I got ‘Arroz con pollo panameña’ with patacones. It was so good!!

Afterwards, Elli and I went out to an icecream place next door and each got cappuchino ice cream in a cone. The ice cream there is amazing. Then we met up with the rest of the family and left. When we got home, everyone went to their own rooms and it was rest time for the rest of the day. I was able to use one of the laptops and spent a lot of time on email and facebook. Then I spent some time on studying the Spanish books I’d brought with me… something I didn’t do very much after that.

Outside the Restaurant Plaza
Left to Right: Eli, Me, Raquel, Alexa, Daniella, Tio Marcos, Tia Gina, Josue (Elli was taking the picture)

Elli and I
Elli and I

Panama City and the Ocean in the far background.

~Riley Tea

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