From December to March the public schools of Panama close for summer vacation. Here in Ballena, summer vacation from school does not always mean freedom and fun. The kids are either put to work with the rest of the family in the farms or are bored with not much else to do. There are no movie theatres, shopping malls, restaurants, dance clubs, summer camps, not even a corner store to buy a soda and sit around. Most kids enjoy school because they like learning and its something for them to do.
So, I took this opportunity to spend some time with my little neighbors. Every morning a group of about 15 to 20 fill up my front porch ready for class. We usually wait a few minutes for them to corral the stragglers. For two hours we read books, draw pictures, collect and study plants and sometimes go out to the mangroves to see what we can find. January 2011