Back in Bocas del Palo
Last Saturday was the long awaited trip to Bocas del Palo to make a presentation of the point and shoot cameras I had bought with the donations of my generous and good friends in the US. My friend, Liceth, wanted to go with me to take photos of the presentation. Juan Carlos, the teacher, picked us up in front of our gym at about 7:30 a.m. We then went to pick up two more people, his boss and another teacher. The five of us then went to Bocas del Palo. We arrived around 9 a.m. and soon after the program started. The event planned was the graduation ceremony of 5 primary students and 5 secondary students. After the national anthem and a few speeches, Juan Carlos called me up to make my presentation. I walked up with the 5 cameras in a bag and began to speak in Spanish. I had made no notes and had no piece of paper. I decided to just say what came out. I told about the idea I had for cameras for the school so the students could check them out and take photos. They had always liked to use my cameras when we walked around town. Before my summer trip to the US, I had decided to ask my friends in the US through Facebook for any donations to help with the purchases. I received enough contributions to buy 4 good Canon Powershot point and shoot cameras with digital cards and battery chargers. Also, besides a donation, Kim and Bruce Ostergard, the parents of my son’s wife, donated a Nikon point and shoot camera for the kids. I took the cameras out of the bag one by one and held them high in the air, then gave them to Juan Carlos. I told the crowd that I had always appreciated the friendship of everyone in the town and wanted to do something for them. Afterwards, the graduation ceremony for the students began. Students received diplomas and medals. Later, many adults, who had been taking classes in the adult school program, received their certificates with their grades. Finally, we were all served a great lunch and then we left. After the school vacation is over in January, I plan to return and help the students learn to take good photos. Maybe, in the spring, I can find a place to have an exhibit of the best of all their photos or maybe, a photo from each student participating. I enjoy the kids and feel that I have a lasting connection with them and the people of Bocas del Palo.