Last May, six of our kids were chosen to represent Enlaces’ talent in the open audition for Hansel & Gretel, a contemporary dance and theatre approach to the Grimm’s Brothers classic, directed by the internationally recognized Fernando Hurtado and produced by Momentum, one of Panama’s most successful dance companies.
Three of our kids were casted between approximately 110 of the best professional and pre-professional dancers who auditioned for this performance. Rehearsals will begin on July 15th and the show will run the last week of August. This is a great opportunity for our kids to show their talent and to feel the magic of performing for an audience in a professional context.
"My name is Celica Williams and it is a great pleasure for me to speak on behalf of my colleagues.
I want to tell you a little about my story and how CAPTA changed my life. I come from Bocas del Toro (indigenous province in Panama about 8 hours away from the city). During a visit to my cousin Edefina who lives in the city and spoke to me about a course that she was enrolling in and wanted me to join. I was afraid to join the course because I've never been away from my family for a long period of time.
My mother is a housewife and my dad is in a wheelchair due to a work accident he had a few years ago; we live off his pension. My seven year old daughter and my husband also live in the same house. I only completed sixth grade, my parents had no money to pay for school and it was also very far.
CAPTA was a challenge because I had to leave my daugher and husband in Bocas del Toro but I decided to leave and just asked God to take care of them.
I want to thank my cousin Edefina, who has given me strength. She encouraged me to take this opportunity for myself and my daughter. Edefina opened the doors to her home and has treated me very well. I sleep on the floor, because we live in a very small room, but I'm doing this for a better future.
Before coming to the course my dad told me, "Daughter take care of yourself, I never thought you would leave, I don’t understand why you are leaving but please be safe.” I told a neighbor about this program CAPTA and said, “don’t go, you are not prepared and will not make it through the program.” But guess what?
Now they know what I've accomplished, three women I know want to come to Panama City for this program. I am proud.
CAPTA changed me. I used to be very nervous shy. I didn’t have any work experience and I never wore make-up. I am different now; and I have more confidence because of this course.
I want to thank everyone at Fundacion Calicanto, especially Dr. Celia because she taught me to value myself.
Fundacion Calicanto: thanks for the opportunity, I never thought I’d get an opportunity like this and now I feel like I can find employment and fulfill my goals.
Classmates: remember going forward with everything they have taught us, it was not an easy journey so you must do well and achieve your goals.
The guests and donors that support CAPTA, thank you because you give women the opportunity to be independent and empowerd.
This is our wrap up report on the fight to save Casco Viejo from the Cinta Costera 3 highway, but, more than anything, it is a thank you to everyone who donated to protect a heritage site that cannot protect itself. In the end, your generosity helped avert the worst case scenario, a massive landfill that would have made this World Heritage Site all but unrecognizable. Your donations made it possible to pay for protest materials, websites, lawyers to defend us when we were threatened and advertisements to get the word out.
The final highway is less than a year from being complete, and, though it is an aesthetic, economic, urbanistic and ecological disaster, it is better than the landfill the government of Panama and their contractor, Odebrecht, had originally intended for two reasons. First is that is on pilings two hundred meters from shore, so it allows the Casco to retain its historic fortifications and some of its relationship with the sea. But, most importantly, it is far easier to remove than the landfill would have been, which gives us hope that at some point in the future it can be removed.
The status of Casco Viejo as a World Heritage Site is still not clear. In June of this year UNESCO will have its annual meeting and be faced with a dilemma of its own creation: allow Casco Viejo to remain as a World Heritage Site, thereby endorsing senseless interventions like CC3 at other Sites, or delisting Casco Viejo, which raises the question of why UNESCO's leadership did not use its powerful voice to publicly denounce CC3 when it had the chance.
While this chapter of the fight to save Casco Viejo from this highway is now closed, in the years to come we still have hope that ultimately any politicians who promoted this project for their personal gain will be brought to justice and that more enlightened leadership in the future will agree that it should be removed and replaced with any of the much better alternatives.