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Volume 18, Number 3
March 25, 2012

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lifestyle

Also in this section:
Waiting out the outages
US overseas and military voters frequently asked questions
The day after the first rain
Grave Cleaning Day at the Chinese cemetery in El Chorrillo
Manny Acosta finds a home in the Mets bullpen
Scenes from the 2012 Ocean-to-Ocean Cayuco Race
Roberto "La Araña" Vásquez vs. Mario Briones: the entire fight
Rio Hato fisherman home after a long ordeal
Scenes from the Kite Festival
Tropical-style bonbons in El Cangrejo
Sunflowers and life's cycle
Soft brown eyes at Nutre Hogar
Cavalcade at the David International Fair
Tourism: a sojourn to Soloy
Scenes from Ricardo Martinelli's birthday party

A lot of articles from other publications and general commentary by various people about different aspects of life in Panama --- and freewheeling discussions about them --- can be found on our constantly updated Facebook page

Soft brown eyes
by Carolina Conte

As I looked into the little girl's soft brown eyes, all I could think about was that I couldn't leave her there. But I had no choice.

It was pouring rain as we pulled into the driveway of the small pink house called Nutre Hogar. This is where families who can't afford to care for their children, can leave them for a few months. I went there with four friends. Three of us didn't know what to expect, since it was our first time.

As we entered the playroom, I looked around and saw children playing with toys, or with one another. The first girl I saw was wearing a tiny pink t-shirt with blue shorts. At first, she was too shy to look at me. But I approached her, smiled, and moved my hands toward her in a tickling motion to try to get her to smile. As soon as she saw the tickle threat, she turned and began to run away, laughing. I followed to catch up with her, picked her up, and began to tickle. For several minutes, I held this girl who I had just met and who would not stop laughing. I then put her down so we could play with the toys that were on the floor. The second I her feet touched the ground, she looked at me with a frightened expression and stretched her arms out, asking me to carry her.

Once the girl was in my arms again, she pointed to the window, and when I asked her if she wanted to go outside, all she did was nod. Since it was raining, we could only stay on the porch, but she wouldn't let me put her down, so I rocked her back and forth as she rested in my arms with her head on my shoulder, listening to the rain fall.

After a few minutes, I realized that she hadn't said a word the whole time. And although I knew nothing about her, I already felt close to her.

I asked her what her name was, but didn't get an answer. Then I asked her how old she was. She lifted her head off my shoulder, smiled, held up three little fingers, and put her head back down. I assumed she wasn't talkative and that she probably wouldn't say a word the whole time I was there. This thought was interrupted, however, when she suddenly looked up at me and murmured, "Mamá."

She had called me mom. I was in shock. All I could do was to try to explain to her that that was not me.

Immediately after this, we were asked to take the children inside for dinner. I sat with her at the table, which is where I learned that her name was Italy. After the other kids had finished and left, I was alone with Italy, who had still not finished eating. I stayed there until she was done. Once she had finished, I took her upstairs to bathe and dress her.

After doing this, I put her in her crib and played with her for a while. Soon, however, it was time to leave. As soon as I waved goodbye and turned around, Italy began to cry. My heart began to break. I couldn't help myself. Although my friends were waiting for me, I went back to play with her a little while longer. As I looked into the girl's soft brown eyes, all I could think about was that I couldn't leave her there. But I had no choice. I promised her I would be back soon and a smile materialized on her face. I gave Italy a hug and walked away with tears in my eyes. This little three-year-old girl made me realize how thankful I should be for everything I have, especially a family who has been able to take care of me for seventeen years.



Carolina Conte is a junior at Balboa Academy






   
 

Also in this section:
Waiting out the outages
US overseas and military voters frequently asked questions
The day after the first rain
Grave Cleaning Day at the Chinese cemetery in El Chorrillo
Manny Acosta finds a home in the Mets bullpen
Scenes from the 2012 Ocean-to-Ocean Cayuco Race
Roberto "La Araña" Vásquez vs. Mario Briones: the entire fight
Rio Hato fisherman home after a long ordeal
Scenes from the Kite Festival
Tropical-style bonbons in El Cangrejo
Sunflowers and life's cycle
Soft brown eyes at Nutre Hogar
Cavalcade at the David International Fair
Tourism: a sojourn to Soloy
Scenes from Ricardo Martinelli's birthday party



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© 2012 by Eric Jackson
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