SOS Children’s Village and Panama Canal

When we registered for the Discover Our Earth Expedition, part of our fee was to support the 5 SOS Children’s Villages that we would be visiting. Finding out the specific needs and providing funds directly to that facility does add relevance to the money we are donating.

Both Edelweiss Bike Tours and Globebusters, the 2 companies that organized our trip, are both enthusiastic supporters of SOS. Kevin and Julia Sanders, Co-Founders of Globebusters, even raised money for SOS during their Guiness Book of World Record trips. Coral and Werner Wachter, Edelweiss Co-Founders, led us to the Village near Panama City.

Being a Saturday, the kids were not in school. Were they ever excited to see our motorcycles! After they crawled all over our bikes and exhibited curiosity about the equipment such as GPS, the question came up – can they have rides? The woman in charge of the facility said “yes.” Werner, Erwin, Gunter, Thomas, Reinhard, and I all gave many, many rides. Each child riding on my bike learned to say “Yee Ha!”

 The queues of eager children did not abate. Some of them, including the girl in the pink shirt sitting on the front seat of my bike, managed to get at least 3 rides. I suspect that our visit was the highlight of their week if not a much longer period of time. The prospect of injury and liability was on my mind and probably on those of others in our group. Sometimes, the heart has to win out over the mind. I’m sure glad it did at this SOS Village.

The Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal were nearby so that’s where we next went. Two huge ships were approaching the parallel locks that raise ships up from the Pacific, and, in this case, down from the level of Lake Gutun and the longest section of the canal. The ship on the left was coming from the eastern USA where it had delivered 5000 Toyotas. I believe the Miraflores Locks move the ships about 23 vertical feet in 10 minutes. All the water is gravity fed. By 2014, additional locks will be finished, doubling the shipping capacity of the canal.
After our 2nd consecutive full day of touring, we were treated to a Panamanian dance show. The full, appliqued and/or embroidered dresses were absolutely beautiful to watch flowing across the stage. The dancer came into the audience to chose members to come dance with them and Chuck was one of the ones chosen.

12-Mar Panama City

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