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Ronald Porter
Acting Director of Service Learning

Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

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Service Learning

Service Learning

Panama: Spring Break '10

Panama

View photos from Panama

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.

View photos from Panama

Notes from the Field

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