Tag Archives: non-profit

Giving back in Panama

Going to Panama without an agenda, just to volunteer and give back, was one of the best experiences of my life.  I experienced everything I wanted and more.  The first day we went we met the coolest taxi driver that took us around Panama City, and got the opportunity to visit Hogar Divino Niño.  Hogar Divino Niño is an orphanage for children ages 0-3.  I’ve never been to a toddler orphanage before.  It was interesting to see to how devoted the ladies were to this infants.  Admission in the orphanage was quit interesting you have to wait to chat with the director and then you’ll get a tour of the premise.  However, if you have donations you can just go drop it off and the “nannies” will take care of them.  They are very in need of the following:

  1. Diapers
  2. Baby Food
  3. Powder mild
  4. Canned foods

That night we took an overnight bus to Almirante, and from Almirante we took a boat to Bocas town.  After arriving to Bocas Town aka Isla Colon, we took another boat to go to Bastimentos Island which was were we stayed.  Bastimentos island was very primitive, with a population of 1,954 people to be exact.   The locals were known as Ngöbe and Buglé, and they spoke their own language known as Guari-Guari, which is a combination of English, Spanish, and local indigenous languages.    I thought Bastimentos Island  was going to be more touristy, but I’m glad it wasn’t because this gave the opportunity to get very submerge with the culture and learn about Ngöbe and Buglé.   I felt like I was in an episode of Naked and Afraid but with clothes.  Little did I know I found out that they filmed of Naked and Afraid there.  There isn’t streets in Bastimentos just a long side walk and lots of jungle, and muddy trails.  The hike to Wizards Beach is quite the experience you have to go barefoot, yes in the mud and slime.    I fell twice, it was AWESOME!  I thought I was pretty adventurous until I went to that trail.   It was very sad to see the conditions people live in Bastimentos Island, they are relatively poor and the drug trade is pretty prevalent.  Young kids are hustling trying to sell you drugs 24/7.  Its pretty overwhelming but you have to shot them down strategically because otherwise they will get a tad bit aggressive.

We took an unbelievable tour with Total Adventures and we went to Cayo Zapatillas,  Dolphin Bay,  Hollywood Island, Cayo Coral, and Sloths Mangroves.  On the tour we met people from London, Spain, China, and Holland.  Being in a tour which such a diverse group was very  cultural enriching.   We definitely made really good friends abroad.

My favorite part of the trip was being able to volunteer with Give and Surf.  Give & Surf aims to provide substantive, hands-on, real world assistance and programs to a hundred and thirty children ages three to sixteen. Give & Surf has constructed and developed two schools in Bahia Honda and Bahia Roja that provide the following: a daily preschool and kindergarten, summer school, surf outreach mentorship program, after school program, Adult and Elementary School english programs, music program, and community involvement initiatives.  Please read more about their non-profit:  http://giveandsurf.org/

Volunteering with Give and Surf was incredible.  Drew, Volunteer Director, will pick you up at 8am at the Bastimentos Island port, and will take you to Bahia Honda school.  Upon arrival we will sing songs with the kids, do activities, and read to them.  My  favorite part of volunteering was teaching the kids how to swim.  They were so stoked on life it was incredible.  I will recommend volunteering abroad to everyone.  Its life changing.  You get to interact with the local community, help them out, and be part of they day-to-day life.

Stay tuned to my next adventure.  Email me if you want to be a part of my adventures and volunteering trips.

Email: lorenagomez07@gmail.com

Cheers!

 

orphanage, be the change, game changer

Lolo Doing Things

This year I had the opportunity to go to several orphanages and public schools in Latin America.  It was a mind blowing experience to see the conditions these children are living in, and how happy and grateful they are.  They didn’t care about the material stuff you brought, I mean yes they needed food and they appreciate that, but all they cared about was your presence.  The “visitor’s” presence.   When you think about basic human needs, the first thing that comes to mind is that underprivileged children would rather have their physiological needs met before anything else.  I guess that statement is wrong. These children prefer to have their social needs met than anything else.  The first thing they ask you when they see you is how long are you staying? I used to say I’m only staying a couple of days or so, and they will keep asking why I had to leave, why I can’t stay with them forever?  Now when I go, I just deviate the question asking them if they want to play a game or something along those lines.  Children around 4-6 years old just want to play and run around.  On the other hand, I got the opportunity to interact with girls ages 8-14, and all they needed was my advice and someone to talk to.  Essentially, children need someone they can trust.  Honestly, if I could I would devote my life to help those in need, but at this point in my life I can’t do it.  I don’t have the financial stability to be able to take off, travel the world, and provide for those in need.

Every time I come back home I tend to compare the under privileged children with the children around the community I live, and is just shocking.  All these kids only care about their self-image, what people think, social acceptance, and good old WIFI.   Children these days have a false sense of community and don’t get to live a normal childhood.   I wish children just grow out of this phase and get involved with things and activities that are substantial for their well-being, and emotional growth.

I’ve been through thick and thin in life.  From beating cancer, to loosing myself, the only thing that’s kept me going is the satisfaction I get from helping other people, especially children in need.  My goal in life is to create my own Non-Profit Organization that helps children around the world and cancer patients.  For that, I need an audience, people who are willing to be selfless and give, people that our willing to be game changers, and make a difference.  I don’t know how I am going to do this, but I am a go getter, and nothing will stop me.  STAY TUNED.

Interested in volunteering or donating? See below:

  • Ciudad de Refugio in Rosarito, Mexico- they are in need of comfort food mainly, but anything else if welcomed. They love toys, of course.  🙂
  • Escuela de Playa Grande, Guanacaste, Costa Rica- they are in need of ink for printers, books, and paper.
  • The Young and Brave Foundation: they need volunteers, email: climon@theyoungandbrave.com
  • Orangewood Foundation: Southern California organization, email: JPatino@orangewoodfoundation.org