One week left. I write these words with regret because they signal the approaching end to my wonderful experience here in Costa Rica with Global Learning. Coming into the Global Learning program, I did not have many concrete expectations. I think I was mostly worried about my Spanish skills and excited to work with kids. I could have never anticipated how close I would feel to twenty-one incredibly diverse individuals. What has surprised me the most about my experience here in Costa Rica is the sense of camaraderie amongst the volunteers. There are people here that I feel like I have known for years instead of a few weeks. I am already making plans to visit Boston next year to visit with some of the volunteers who attend school there!
Global Learning has given me so much in terms of making new relationships. I am inspired everyday by the passion of my fellow volunteers. Their dedication not only to the GL program, but also to their personal endeavors allows me to feel more confident about my own dreams. Here, I have met university students, teachers, and even former Peace Corps volunteers. Everyone here believes in the importance of service in a global sense, and I am saddened to leave such an empowering and nurturing environment next week.
Now, onto the children. We returned to El Salto today to do a community project centered around recycling and protecting the environment. I was very surprised by the number of kids that showed up. It was amazing how much trash and recyclable goods we collected in such little time! Seeing children I had taught before and having them remember me was a very rewarding experience. I feel especially close to the children at El Salto because we were able to give special classes to them a couple of weeks ago when their school was technically closed. We were also able to attend a cultural festival there yesterday full of excitement, dancing, recitations, and laughter. I was able to share lunch with some very talkative kindergarten students. They cannot wait until next year when they can participate in the lessons.
Tonight was very special because we had an open house for all present and past volunteers. I was able to meet former volunteers like Javier, who was part of the pilot GL team back in 1998, and who continues to be a major force in the program. It was interesting to be part of a melding of two different generations of volunteers. This coming week is going to be full of planning, teaching, and hopefully a lot of laughter. I arrived in Costa alone, but I am leaving with a family.
Current GL Volunteer in Costa Rica 2009