Sunday, August 17, 2008

Poverty in Bocas del Toro

Schoolgirl from Bocas del Toro, Panama

I spotted this story in an old issue of The Bocas Breeze, and I found it to be rather touching:

A National Geographic Moment, or A Big Wake-Up Call
by someone who cares

Yesterday we decided to have a sleepover and each of our girls could invite one guest. The older one phoned her friend and it was a done deal.

My younger daughter asked me to walk to her friend’s house to ask her parents for permission. Her friend had been to our house many times and she seemed to be a bright and happy child. I suggested we take a taxi, and my daughter laughed, saying, “Mommy, we can’t take a taxi there.” And I soon found out why.

We walked, and we walked, and we walked. Down a dirt road, through the bush, along trails to another path. Along the way I told my daughter to please ask that her friend remember to bring her toothbrush. She said, “Mom, she doesn’t have a toothbrush. They’re poor.” Stupidly I said, “Then be sure she brings her pajamas.” At this point my daughter stopped me and said, “Mom, they don’t have pajamas. They sleep in their everyday clothes.” I thought my heart would fall out of my chest.

Arrangements have been made for our Saturday dentist, Dr. Wong (who I highly recommend), to donate 50 toothbrushes and toothpaste. I have extra fabric that I will sew into clothes. Please look through your closets to find shoes and clothing of any size, or buy a few personal care items. The Bocas Breeze newspaper has graciously agreed to accept these donations and I will deliver them to this village in need.

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