It was really difficult to say goodbye to everyone at the shelter today. We were only there for about four hours this morning, because this afternoon we went to the Altieri's beach house again, for the final party.
First thing I gave Ricardo's mother the suitcase. She was so grateful for it and even tried to pay me for it. She and Ricardo's grandmother stuffed it completely and yet still they have so much stuff. I have no idea how they are going to get home. Yamilka, Ricardo's sister, wrote me a beautiful letter today and drew me some beautiful pictures. I learned that Ricardo's little sister is named Rosalin. The whole family is incredibly sweet and you can tell how much the mother does for her children. I spent a descent amount of time sitting with them on their cots.
Other than that we just played with the kids as always. Many of our friends came back to the shelter from the hospital which was nice. I also went around and handed out the rest of my toothbrushes. People were really excited to get them and many took one for each child they had back at home.
Saying goodbye to everyone was absolutely heartbreaking. We are so used to saying "Hasta Manana", so telling everyone that this is it, we won't be back later was really difficult. I had an especially hard time leaving Ricardo's family, of course. I gave them all multiple hugs, and I was surprised by how expressive Yamilka was because she is so shy. Some of the kids came outside to wave goodbye which made it that much harder because we were already sobbing and they came up to the bus and everything. I will miss them all so much, and as cliche as it sounds, I really have a place for them in my heart.
We then headed to the Altieri's beach house for dinner. It was so much fun! The family is so nice to have us there again, and they treat us so well. We played Ping-Pong outside on the deck and drank coco water and ate delicious food. After dinner I decided that I really should go into the ocean, so I ran in dressed, since I didn't bring a bathing-suit this time. The water is so warm and it was so refreshing, even though I had to be in my wet clothes for the rest of the night. We then hung out on the beach for a while. Chantal, Isabella, and Gabi taught us a Panamanian dance on the beach and we had a blast. On the way home we raced across the beach in the back of a pickup truck and it was lightly raining. It was so nice to speed along the water with the wind blowing. The whole night was a really nice way to end the week.
Now we are back at the hotel packing because tomorrow we leave for Panama City at 5:30 AM. We will spend the day and night there, and then Sunday I head home. I really never want to leave, Panama is so wonderful!