Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Panama: Spring Break '10
12 students traveled to Panama to provide service for the largest orphanage in the country, San Jose de Malambo. The orphanage is home to 162 children, from the tiniest of infants to children of 18 and 19 years old. It is a house-based orphanage, with 20 children living with age mates and a house parent in each house. There are two clinical houses, home to children with HIV and other disabilities. The baby house also has 5 severely handicapped children.
The Eckerd students provided care, stimulation, fun and love for the children. Each day we divided the group up so that some worked in the morning with infants, others worked with toddlers and still others worked in what we came to call the HIV house. After helping to serve lunch daily, the students would switch with one another to work in different houses. By far the greatest challenge to the Eckerd students was the toddler house, as the children were not toilet trained and nor did they have diapers. Almost all had been removed from abusive homes, so the level of interpersonal violence between the children was high. The Eckerd students learned a great deal in working with these children and they did a yeoman job.
Following 5 days of 8:30-4:30 service at Malambo, we traveled on the weekend to the San Blas Islands to learn about the Kuna Indian culture and relax before returning to Eckerd.