When I try to catalogue in my mind all of the valuable lessons that I have learned here in Panama so far, I cannot help but think that this experience has given me more than I am even aware of. The time that I have valued the most thus far is the time that I spend simply conversing with the people of San Miguel. By means of this experience, I have now realized the substantial importance in the art of listening.
Before arriving to Panama, someone told me that we as humans were created with two ears and only one mouth for a reason; it is essential that we listen to what others have to say rather than insisting that we know best. I believe that this lesson is particularly important here because we as westerners tend to assert the belief that developed nations possess a superior way of thinking, but this is definitely not the case. The philosophy of life that I most identify with is this idea that everything in existence is intricately interconnected to another and every being is a continuation of everything else. For this reason it is crucial that we listen and consider the thoughts of others.
While conversing with the people of San Miguel and the other surrounding communities, I have realized that every single person has a unique perspective and a story worth sharing, and always there is something to learn from them. The people of San Miguel live a very different life than we do and I truly believe in the merit of living a humble life not centered on the traditional material items that we deem valuable in the “modern world”. Consequently I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to immerse myself in a completely different culture and I only hope that I have given at least some people from San Miguel some of the insight that they have given me.