Three and a half years ago I posted this, a journal entry I wrote shortly after visiting the comarca Ngobe Bugle. A ‘comarca’ is more or less equivalent to our Native American reservations. The indigenous people of Panama, of which one tribe was called the Ngobe, were a nomadic people that gradually had less and less land on which they could roam. The city grew, and the government claimed rights over their land. Finally, the Ngobe had nowhere else to travel and settled in a certain region of Panama.
The trouble is, though, that nomadic farming practices — in short, much of their way of life — are not sustainable on a single plot. The soil was quickly drained of its nutrients, and the economic gap between the indigenous and the city grew. Fast forward a number of years later and now these people are some of the most impoverished of Panama, still fighting for their rights.
Almost four years ago, my friends and I visited that region and began Few for Change, a non-profit organization dedicating towards raising scholarships that cover tuition, food, and any other basic needs a underprivileged child would need to stay in school. Education, we believe, is the only way to break this cycle of poverty.
This week, my friends and I return to Panama for our third scholarship ceremony, meeting our older students and welcoming the new. We will need all the luck we have to dredge out our former language abilities, but we’re excited to return back to where it all started.
Updates to come.