My First Visit To Isla Solarte

Bocas Del Toro is a group of islands in Panama and I’m living on Isla Colon, the most developed one with the most tourism, and I’ll be volunteering in a primary school on a nearby one called Isla Solarte. Today I went to meet the principal of the school so we could discuss what time I should come in each day and what she wants me to do etc.

You get from island to island via water taxi, and the cost varies depending on if you’re local or a tourist and which island you’re going to. Mostly they’re around $7 – $10 round trip. Solarte is normally $8 round trip I think, but because I’m volunteering I get it for $4 round trip. The ride takes about 5 minutes and these are some pictures I took from the boat:

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The island is so different from Isla Colon. There are no roads on Isla Solarte and some people kayak to school! This means when it’s raining there’s no school because the water’s too wavy when there’s rain so it would be dangerous for people to travel. This is what you can see when you step onto the island:

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This is from a rubbish angle but this is the school, which is made up of 4 classrooms:

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The principal is called Candy and her English is really good. She wants me to teach the 3 youngest year groups (I think it was 3, maybe 2) every morning because sometimes she does it but she also has a lot of administrative stuff to do so it’ll be helpful for her to have someone else who can do it. In the youngest class there were only 12 people and I didn’t see how many were in the other ones. She said I should just teach them things like numbers, colours, animals, family members, food etc, which they’ve already been taught a bit but need it repeating.

School starts at 8 so I’m going to get at water taxi from Bocas at 7.45 every day. It finishes around 12 or 1 but English is only for the first few hours but Candy said I can sit in some other lessons too to improve my Spanish etc.

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