We love it when our campers come back home having learned about themselves and others, and broadened their horizons in the process.
Treasure, a 2017 ASA camper with a passion for cuisine, recounts some culinary memories from her stay at ASA on her blog, Treasure's Truth:
As the world becomes more interconnected, I believe that traveling and an exchange of cultures is essential to not only growing as a person, but also growing as a contender in any social setting. Whether it be studying abroad during University or simply traveling outside of the country for vacation, travel proves not only to be essential but also beautiful. That’s why I’d like to share my trip to Panama.
I was going to the American Sports Academy on the beautiful Buenaventura Resort in Cocle, Panama. Although I had no expectations for the country prior to my departure, I imagined Panama as a tropical country, extremely humid at times and rainy at others. And boy was I right.
Although I was sent to Panama to solely play Basketball and Tennis, I found myself traveling all over the country, from the Panama Canal to El Valle to meeting the indigenous Wounaan tribe. Although these excursions let me meet new people, learn more about Panamanian history and taste delicious food, the most memorable parts were where I just looked outside of the bus window. I was able to see the moutains, the rivers, the trees and connect with the people on the sides of the road simply with eye contact. I think that feeling of ease and peace can be found in any cityperson’s eyes when they are able to nature so vividly like that. Being able to experience such beauty is truly a blessing.
Now, as the foodie I am, I can’t write this post without mentioning the food. Panamanian food is amazing, from the range to the regional delicacies, everything is delicious.
One of the most memorable meals was actually made in the rainforest from the people of the Wounaan tribe. A simple dish, fried sea bass and fried plantains. Nothing much, right? Boy, was I wrong! The saltiness of the sea bass perfectly complimented bread-y flavor of the plantains. It was truly a delicious meal.
Another delicious meal I also had wasn’t native to Panama, in a sense. This dish was Chicken Lo Mein. Now, I already know what you’re thinking. “Why the heck would someone choose to eat Chicken Lo Mein in Panama, of all places?”
Well, here’s why. Prior to entering the restaurant, our tour guide, Ross, a Zimbabwean, told us that there were surprisingly many Chinese people in El Valle and they had a huge impact on the cuisine of the region. From this new information, I decided to try the Chicken Lo Mein, and that was probably the mst delicious fusion food I’ve ever had. With the incorporation of spicy chili peppers to the caarrots and beansprouts of the dish, I could taste Panama in the Chinese noodles. The spices danced a tango with the oils of the noodles, the crunch of the carrots and peppers beating the drums on the stage.
My tastebuds were having a party.
I’d like to close this post by saying that travel is probably one of the best things that you can give your child. The opportunity to meet people from all over the world and share culture and values is truly a privilege. I’d like to thank my Mother and my camp coordinator for putting all of this together for me because this was an experience I will never forget. I look forward to traveling more and sharing my stories, experiences and viewpoints with you. And that’s the truth.