Today, we woke up to a torrential rain storm outside of our room in Selva Verde Lodge the day we were to beginning of our three-day service project in a rural school close to La Virgen. After breakfast, we headed to the San Isidro Escuela, formally called the Centro Educativo San Isidro.
This was larger school than the previous one. It had several classrooms, including a kindergarten. We were tasked with refurbishing the school’s fourth classroom, which needed work so the school could add an English classroom. In addition, we worked on multiple projects, including planting a live perimeter fence with native vines and repairing, preparing a new soccer field, and sanding desks. After unloading a truck of building supplies, we got to work on cleaning the room and painting the walls with a sealer.
In between work, we played soccer with the school children, which was a lot of fun. The game of Monkey in the Middle became quite intense before lunch, and gave us a nice break between the manual labor. I enjoyed the work, which was not physically exhausting but very rewarding to continuously work with one school.
After lunch, we finished up our day’s work and prepared for our homestays. Immediately, Julio and Marina, my homestay parents, were very welcoming and generous despite the language barrier. They lived in a small house with a freshly cut lawn with their two sons. We sat around exchanging comments and questions. The conversations involved some hand gestures and Spanglish, but we learned a lot about each other and the Costa Rican, or Tico, culture. I played soccer video games with their children, explored the ranch, and tried sugar cane from their farm, which was very delicious.
We also visited Peter’s Tico house that sat on top of a hill—the food was some of my favorite on the trip. We went to sleep early and rose at sunrise, and at breakfast we exchanged gifts. They really enjoyed the fruit preserves, and Julio gave me a really nice candlestick holder he made himself.
Julio and Marina were so generous and caring to me, as Marina explained that she really cared for me because she knew there was a mother worrying about me back home. Although I was initially was worried about the night, it was very rewarding and would do it again in a heartbeat.