Ananda School Visit

By Elliot Blumberg 16 March, 2015

The group hike to the Guna Yala lookout. The girls’s hike to the Madroñito falls. Everyone plays in the water near a fallen tree. Look out below! Snapping photos of a peculiar seed pod. A beetle matches the patterns on one of our hiker’s shoes. The valley provides picturesque photos. We almost missed this walking stick bug! Nature’s spiral Planting in the garden. A couple of chaperones move a boulder to complete Ananda Falls. Ananda students and teachers working hard together to carve out a tier for relaxation. Moving the dirt from point A to point B. Mark and Giuseppe pose with a couple of the Ananda crew. Standing over their creation. (Special thanks to Mark even though he’s not in the photo!) A refreshing dip in the nearby waterfalls after a hard day’s work. Will insect jewelry be the next big thing? Drawing with elementary school students in San José. Kicking around the soccer ball. A San José student smiles as he gets a ‘tattoo’ from an Ananda visitor. A local poses for a shot of her face art. A raptor surveys its domain. Can you identify this bird?

There’s nothing more satisfying to an Earth Train staffer than the presence of well-rounded, respectful students within the thatched roofs of Centro Mamoní. We’re sad to see the spirited scholars of the Ananda Living Wisdom School fly back to their California community this week.

While they were here, the students experienced the draw of Panama City, trekked through the rainforest in the Mamoní Valley Preserve, visited multiple communities in the valley, and coasted out to visit Colón.

From the base of Centro Mamoní, the eight participating students and four chaperones went on three hikes and visited two communities. In San José, the Ananda crew presented gifts to the local students, kicked around a soccer ball, and painted. In La Zahina, everyone played with kayaks in the water. Of course, no visit to the MVP is complete without checking out Junglewood Falls, where the girls swam in the cascades and baked in the sun on the hot rocks.

Most importantly, the Ananda crew showed world-record work ethic. Thanks to their help, led by Earth Train’s own Mark Knetsch, Centro Mamoní’s recreation area looks better than ever. Soon we’ll have both a seating niche carved into the hill above the pool and a humble (but beautiful!) cascade flowing into the pool itself. She doesn’t look like much yet, but say hello to the newly christened Ananda Falls!

A big thanks to all the hard-working ladies of the Ananda Living Wisdom School; we hope to see you all (or maybe the boys) again.

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