30/07/2013 by cc_admin

A Long Weekend Workshop in Coco Solo

“I found out about Cambio Creativo from an NGO festival that I had attended a few weeks back and after speaking with some of the volunteers, I decided that I was interested in volunteering as well. Rose, the co-founder, informed me that they often had people come in and do workshops for the kids, so i decided why not?! I had been working at an after-school program the fall before and I was interested in how a program like this might work in such a different community and country.

So off I went on a bus to Colon, Panama. I had no idea what to expect as Rose lead me through the tall marshy grasses to the remains of the old barracks. Cinder blocks were crumbling, there were few doors, and graffiti covered the walls, yet in between all of the craziness were clothes hung to dry and kids running around playing. She lead me to one of the barracks and introduced me to a man named Mikey. Mikey is Jamaican and was a former drug dealer turned preacher who now housed about 5 teenage boys who had no where else to go. He fed them, made sure they went to school and taught them about what is right and wrong.

Although the exterior resembled a slum, the interior of the barrack was filled with hope and warmth. The walls were painted aqua blue and adorned with collages and various drawings and paintings made by the children that attend the after-school program. It was honestly an inspiring place. And although my living situation was basic , I felt comfortable and safe.

The next day was the first day of my workshop. My plan was to teach about local Panamanian animals, since I had been living in the jungle for the last couple of months as a primate researcher, I’ve constantly heard local children confuse different species of animals. No tigers do not live in Panama. We started out by going on a little nature walk- we found this amazing little pool filled with tadpoles and examined each one until we could outline the different stages of development. For example, at first, one of the kids didn’t believe me that a tadpole becomes a frog, so I showed him a tadpole that had already developed legs. His face lit up as he put it all together; he was absolutely adorable.

After our walk we headed back to the classroom and colored in various sketches of animals that I had printed before arriving. We then cut the animals out and placed them in the location where they would naturally live on a poster we drew to represent the various levels of the ecosystem. I certainly agreed with the kids that it was super cool that iguanas can live in the jungle and can swim- that is incredible!

On Day 2 of the workshop we decided it would be fun to make water filters with the kids. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be drinkable water, but it would be water they could use to wash clothes. Making the water filters was a ton of fun and only required two coffee filters, some cotton balls and an old water bottle (which are plentiful with all of the trash on the streets outside). And they really did work! We could put in dark brown water and it would come out almost completely clear!

My time volunteering for the Cambio Creativo was very insightful and enjoyable. Although I had worked at an after-school program before there were a lot of similarities and differences that I did not foresee. For example, kids will be kids, it doesn’t matter where they are in the world. They want to explore and have fun- the key is to squeeze a little learning in there too ;) Also, in the Bay Area in California we are privileged with having endless amounts of school supplies where as everything really had to be well planned in Colon. A trip to the grocery store to pick up supplies was not an easy feat. It was also a really fun experience to plan and execute a little science workshop- I hope it is something I can continue to do in the future. Thank you so much for all of the warmth and excitement Cambio Creativo!”

-Brittany Fair

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26/07/2013 by cc_admin

Cambio Creativo participates in Roba Morena Event

Blessings to all in general! Participating in the Roba Morena program was an unforgetable experience, especially for giving us the opportunity to reach so many people from all over the world, speaking about our foundation – Cambio Creativo, an educational program in the community of Coco Solo north, that has greatly impacted the lives of not only the children and youngsters but also the families. I congratulate everyone that makes Roba Morena a great and successful reality.
- Michael Brown


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21/05/2013 by cc_admin

“El Gran Cambio Creativo de Coco Solo”

El taller fue una experiencia muy linda, la verdad. Mi intención fue compartir con ellos una técnica que me da mucho placer tener en mis manos: el poder hacer un cuaderno en blanco para escribir mis ideas o dibujar y/o poder hacer una revista (fanzine) con amigos para compartir con otros lo que vivimos día a día o lo que vive en nuestra imaginación.
Desde el primer taller, los chicos respondieron con genuino interés. En el primer taller hicimos un modelo muy sencillo – me dí cuenta de que ellos realmente querían un reto mayor. Parece que les gustó el proyecto, porque unas semanas más tarde, se me acercó una niña y me pidió que le enseñara a hacer ese modelo que había hecho antes con los otros. En 10 minutos tenía su cuaderno en blanco, y la próxima vez que la vi, me contó que estaba feliz con su cuaderno y que a su mamá le encantó!
En el segundo taller para hacer el librito en honor a Coco Solo, diseñaron páginas con collages de historias, fotos y dibujos de Coco Solo – al estilo fanzine de lo más intuitivo. Casi sin dirección de nuestra parte, diseñaron página tras página de emoción, humor y sueños! Aprendí que les gusta trabajar en silencio y enfocarse; sólo necesitan que alguien les ayude a crear ese espacio de trabajo. Me dio mucho placer ver su dedicación por compartir sus historias.
Al tercer día me decepcioné cuando sólo vino un niño  (ya muchos se habían mudado a Buena Vista) – pero Armando tiene un talento que vale por varios! Sabe coser mejor que yo a su edad, sin duda! y aprendió a ensamblar estos libritos más rápido que ligero. Cuando le pregunté si quería hacer uno más me miró con una carita — pensé que diría que no, pero en cambio dijo: dos o tres o cuatro o cinco?!
Me alegra saber que la experiencia vive en algunos de ellos y presiento que la seguirán compartiendo. Poder expresarse en una forma concreta, con un libro por ejemplo – es una herramienta poderosa! Ya sea para desahogarse uno solo, o para publicar y vender, y así sobrevivir tal vez.
- Ela Spalding (Estudio Nuboso)

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26/03/2013 by cc_admin

Cambio Creativo at Festival Abierto 2013

Este año tuvimos el honor de volver a participar en el Festival Abierto. Fue un exito total! Nos encanto conocer a tanta gente interesada en nuestro trabajo y formar nuevas relaciones para intercambios de todo tipo. Jovenes de Coco Solo vinieron a participar y estaban muy orgullosos de ver el interes y entusiasmo que el publico tenia del arte, musica, y fotografias que ellos han creado. Espero que podamos seguir trabajando en conjunto para crear una verdadera plataforma de cambio!

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20/03/2013 by cc_admin

Estudio Nuboso Leads a Book Binding Workshop!

As part of the Cambio Creativo summer program, Estudio Nuboso offered a bookbinding workshop to compliment a writing class. We made a simple japanese binding to initiate them in the art of making  your own books.

In this workshop, fine skills and interest were revealed by a number of the students. The possibility of learning to make fanzines and other bindings which will allow them to tell their stories and self-publish is alive and well. We hope to make this happen in the next months.

-Estudio Nuboso

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18/03/2013 by cc_admin

Defining and Building Healthy Communities: Global Brigades visits Coco Solo

During this workshop, staff members from Global Brigades-Panama
organized a workshop with Cambio Creativo teachers and students to
discuss ‘what makes a community,’ and how we can collectively build
healthier social and ecological relationships at home. Global Brigades
is currently the world’s largest student-led health and development
organization, working on rural community development projects in
Panamá, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Ghana.
Team members from GB coordinated with Cambio Creativo teachers
to lead a general discussion, followed by a creative mapping exercise
to define and understand “community.” What elements do you think make
up a healthy community? Students and teachers designed and sketched
their own visions, and shared ideas. Many students, for example, drew
schools, houses, churches, parks, in addition to rivers and lakes to
swim and fish in.
The workshop allowed team members and students from both
organizations to come together and discuss community mobilization
methods used both in urban and rural settings. The question was
raised: ‘how now do we build the community that you’ve just drawn?’
There was an overwhelming feeling of mutual collaboration between Coco
Solo youth and Global Brigades members. The guiding principles in all
community mobilization projects are education and participatory
This was the first activity, in what will hopefully be a long relationship,
between Global Brigades and Cambio Creativo. Next week, Coco Solo
teacher and mentor Jesus David Blanco, for example, will be a Visiting
Fellow on one of Global Brigade’s programs in the Darien region.
During the week, Jesus David will follow GB activities and report back
to Cambio Creativo team members about what he learned about community

-Allen Gula, Solomiya Teterichko, and Abbey Rich

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18/03/2013 by cc_admin

El Sapo y El Caiman

Este año Cambio Creativo está haciendo un gran esfuerzo por promover la alfabetización en Coco Solo. Aparte de participar en talleres sobre la escritura creativa y la lectura, los jovenes crearon su propia cancion del abecedario! Y hicieron fotos que ilustran cada letra para complementar el proyecto! Tambien hemos expandido la biblioteca juvenil y creado un club de lectura.

Entre todo estos esfuerzos, Eduardo Arenas notaba que muchos niños todavia no saben leer y no tienen a nadie quien les lea. De ahi le surgio una grandisima idea: por que no creamos nuestros propios libros de audio?!? De esta forma, los jovenes pueden practicar o aprender a leer solos, ya que ver las letras y escuchar los sonidos es lo primordial a la hora de aprender a leer.

Fue un proceso lindo en el cual 10 participantes entre 8-15 años colaboraron para desarrollar la historia. Luego la ilustraban mientras unos narraban el cuentro y otros graban los efectos de sonido. Los jovenes estaban muy emocionados y orgullosos que su cuento sea publicado. Ademas de herramienta educativa, “El Sapo y el Caiman” es una manifestacion de creatividad, talento y pasion — todos estamos muy orgullosos!


El Sapo y El Caiman from Lorena Endara on Vimeo.

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11/02/2013 by cc_admin

Viva El Bibliobandido: A Workshop on Literacy and Storytelling

We arrived to Coco Solo on November 25th, a year and a half after our
last visit, back in 2011. It was exciting to be working with the kids
again, and to see how much they had grown. It was also impressive to
see the new space of Cambio Creativo. The educational center now has a
second additional classroom, plus a walk-in closet to store Cambio’s
supplies. We spent two weeks in Coco Solo, running a literacy and
storytelling workshop. We brought with us, from the United States,
fifty new children books in Spanish – to add to the growing library.
The kids were enthralled with the books. We, along with the help of
Jesus David and Yamilka Savage, divided the children into small groups
by age, and read each group a selection of the new books. It was a
challenge with the amount of students and the breadth of their ages,
but we all worked together to engage the students.

During our second week, we conducted a special Bibliobandido workshop,
inspired by a program by the same name in Honduras. See,
http://vimeo.com/43641161 Pastor Michael Brown was a great help to us,
as he dressed up as the mysterious book bandit and told the kids a
fantastic story about his ravenous desire for children’s stories. “Soy
El Bibliobandido. Tengo ganas a comer los cuentos. Los cuentos son mi
alimentacíon. Los que no me cuentan. Ten cuidado!!!” He asked the
children to write books for him to eat. The moment he left, the
children quickly got to creating their books. They each used one of
the new books from the library to influence their stories. It was a
really fun experience.

A few weeks after the Bibliobandido workshop, we visited Coco Solo for
one last day, on what was the U.S. Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
We worked with the students, discussing the story of Martin Luther
King Jr.’s life’s work battling discrimination against black people.
The kids really identified with the struggles of African Americans,
and it made them think of their own identities as people of African
descent. At the end of the workshop, each student wrote a short “I
Have a Dream” speech, with their own vision for the future. They had
in common a dream that one day they would be able to escape poverty.

-Wendy & Blake

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09/02/2013 by cc_admin

Cambio Creativo!

Music by youth of Coco Solo
Mixing by Eduardo Arenas
Animation by Lorena Endara

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28/12/2012 by cc_admin

Christmas Party at Coco Solo

“The Gospel states that God blesses a happy giver and we have received every detail big or small with all our hearts and love. We do not possess gold or silver but in appreciation you will always be present in our blessings. And in this upcoming year, may you be full of blessings with every step you take.”

- Pastor Mikey & the community of Coco Solo

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