Costa Rica Week 2

IMG_4170As predicted week two has flown by! A group of volunteers and I celebrated our first week with an incredible, intense twenty-mile hike and camping trip to Poás Volcano. An early Monday came quickly and the combination of climate change, exhaustion, and toddler boogers finally caught up with me. I powered up on garlic and ginger, and tried to ignore the lingering sickness as best I could. This week the schedule and classes finally got into a steady flow, although with varying amounts of kids each day, inconsistency became consistent.IMG_4192IMG_4169Each day began with some guided hula hoop dance and even some yoga. I was able to provide healthy snacks for the kids, which is rare since they are usually given sweets or chips everyday. We spent our last few days of class focusing on fun projects involving the human body, nutrition, and manners. I loved all of the kids but a few I got really close with, one little niña in particular, Karla. She spent a lot of time away from home, and clung to me everyday from the moment I walked in to the moment I left.IMG_5088IMG_4168Over the last week, I partnered up with a local Tico boy who helped drive me around and translate, acquiring the supplies for take home bags for fifty children. In each bag I was able to get a notebook, crayons, pencil, toothbrush, and a healthy juice box. My Mama Tica and her friend helped me package everything together. I was also able to provide the daycare with a large quantity of hand sanitizer, bandages, basic medical supplies, art supplies, paper, and sets of number and letter learning blocks for the kids. They were overwhelmed when I surprised them with this on my last day. I was equally overwhelmed by their astounding gratitude for such seemingly simply necessities. To celebrate, I prepared a giant fruit salad for the kids and staff as a farewell and to reaffirm that healthy can be delicious.IMG_4174IMG_5094Goodbyes are rarely easy; by the end of this trip, I had fifty to convey and not a single one of them was easy. My journey may be over but my mission is still at large. I set off on this pursuit knowing that my time with the children was limited, but my underlying goal was to leave an impact, on the Third World as well as the First. The next time these children choose a banana over a bag of chips, or say “thank you,” or brush their teeth before they go to bed, I’ll have succeeded. As for the First World, the impact I hope to leave is awareness. No combination of photographs and words can truly capture the first-hand multitude of this experience, but they aim to offer a parallel to the state of a world beyond our borders, which demands a certain appreciation for our own definition of necessity.IMG_4164To everyone who has helped to make this mission possible, words cannot express my immense gratitude and appreciation. I can only share with you the beauty, love, and hope that I have been endowed with by this journey. This trip has reaffirmed once again that part of my life mission is to continue traveling to impoverished areas, offering support to the underprivileged children who aren’t raised with safety, structure, hygiene, or education as the status quo. Nothing fulfills my heart quite like this. I’m already looking forward to my next humanitarian project. I will be posting a series of photos when I return in March, so stay tuned. For now, it’s time for me to unplug, disappear into the jungle, and become one with the Ticos.




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