Monday, February 27, 2006


Things have actually been pretty busy. Well, I have at least been out of my site quite a bit. I have actually been out of my site as much as I was in last month. OOpps. Last week I was in San Jose working on the Cadena, the volunteer newsletter. I think it turned out pretty well but it was a little FUBAR'd organizationally and I had to take down another volunteer. Luckily she is leaving country within the next month so I won't have to deal with her again. It was a good reminder that incompetance and self-centrism is a human characteristic and not a cultural one.

Last weekend we had our VAC meeting and the volunteers for our region got together and went camping on the beach. It was beautiful!!! We had to hike to the beach and it was pretty secluded except for a few fishermen. I should have some pictures within the month to share.

Now, I am thinking that after five months in my site, it might be time to get some projects rolling. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

La Casita and Carriari

I sent everone off on Tuesday and then headed back to Puntarenas. I spent the afternoon moving into my "casita". I am sleeping on the floor (Thank God I thought to bring my sleeping pad), I don't yet have chairs, a frige, or a place to cook, but... I LOVE IT!!!! At least, all the time I have spent in it, which hasn't been much.

I caught the 4am San Jose bus on Wed morning to go on a community tour organized by a university group. The tour was actually for a group of Salvadorans but they let me tag along. It was really an incredible trip. It was a lot different that what I have been doing as it involved zero tourists and a lot of 3rd world poverty.

The trip has had me thinking and is fanning the embers of my activist/revolutionary spirit. As the only Gringo in attendance, it was hard to hear that a good deal of the suffering has been affected by the medling and/or indifference of of other Gringos. We've known that on an abstract level, but it is different in person. I listened with compassion and humanity. The only time I felt shame was when someone told me that every other gringo they have told these things to has left the room and refused to listen. At one part of the tour, we all introduced ourselves and said what we bring to the group. When it was my turn, I said that I brought humility and friendship and that I hoped to be a voice. I later realized that I don't need to be a voice. They have their own voices, their own stories, they are not mine to retell. What I should have said, what I will say next time, is that I will do my best to teach my countrymen to hear.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

19 buses, 11 taxis, 4 horses, 2 ferries, and a TON of walking....

Emily, Nicole and Chris are on their way back to the states now. We had a great time and were able to catch up on nearly every moment we have missed since I left. Chris really enjoyed that part. :)

We were in La Fortuna saw a cloud shaped volcano as well as a couple of sparks of lava. We ziplined (upside down!) through the jungle, saw a frog wearing blue-jeans, rode (fiesty) horses, saw a waterfall and swam in thermal waters in a down pour. Lest I forget the best part... we drank lattes. :)

It rained a lot in La Fortuna but luckily the weather cooperated and I was able to show them that it generally hovers around a billion degrees in my site. We went to my school, played hangman with the English class and taught them about the transportation system in the US and the 2 car minimum. We also ate ceviche which is wonderful.

We treked to Mal Pais and they got a taste of the nether regions of Costa Rica where a lack of telephone or internet service is offset by an abundance of sun and dust. The beach was beautiful and was not overshadowed (excuse the punn) by the massive sunburns inflicted on newbee flesh. Well, it didn't overshadow for me as the cancer tan that I have aquired at least saved me from burning, Emily and Chris may think otherwise. We also ate falafel and kept ourselves busy sweeping big ants and milipedes out of the cabina.

Back in San Jose, we hit the Mercado and froze to death in the much cooler weather. THen, before you know it, it was time to go and they have gone and I am back to work. The problem with vacations is that they tend to end...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

End of Summer (Vacation) Camp

The week flew by as I have imagined busy weeks are wont to do. We held our end of vacation camp on Tue, Wed and Thur. Tuesday started out pretty disapointing as not one person from my barrio showed up to participate. To say the least I was more than a little discouraged. Tuesday was soccer in El Roble, Andre's site. We split the kids up and went through some fundamental drills and were immediately reminded that a) Tico kids are not predisposed to listening and/or following directions and b)multiply that by ten for socio-economic level. It was pretty out of control, but somehow ended up well. The kids got metals and were generally happy.

Tuesday was my day. I hosted a Beach Day at the (Crack)Beach by my barrio. My neighbor and her son came and I was able to recruit a couple more on the walk to the beach. (The kid I "recruited" and I have a fun game we play... he sees me and asks me for "one dollar" and I respond "Oh, you want to give me a dollar? Thanks!" He was quite confused the first time we did this, but now thinks it's pretty funny. Or maybe I'm the one that thinks it's funny.) Anyway... the kids played in the waves and Constance and I tried to keep them from being carried out to sea. Our concern was not appreciated as gringos seem to over-supervise in nearly every aspect of life. We had the kids build communities out of sand and had a contest for the best one. We included a trash pickup in the contest and were pleasantly surprised when the kids actually jumped up and filled 9 or 10 bags with trash. We didn't make a dent in the landscape of litter but we figured it was the effort that counted. Then, we had a snack and the kids immediately dropped their wrappers to the ground. Baby steps...

Thursday we headed to Miramar for Scott's hike. Andre and I had our hands full trying to coordinate transporting 25 people on the public bus. I can't say it enough... transportation is always an adventure. The hike was hot, long and gorgeous. We played games and the kids got metals for winning the races. We had lunch and then walked back to catch the bus. It was a long, tiring day, but was a lot of fun and all the kids seemed to enjoy it. In the very least, they were a little more "tranquilo" on the bus ride back.

So... nothing like following up a quasi-gruelling two week run of activity like a vacation; Emily, Nicole and Chris arrive tonight!