There is always something to be learned. Isn’t that what we tell our students? As adults and teachers we can generally anticipate their true needs as well as their desires. Your children need to eat! They desire connection to social media. They need to set daily wake-up alarms. Their desire is that we rouse them from their slumber in time to make it to breakfast. Our students have been afforded the luxury of doing service in a country in which evaluating what is needed, verses what is desired, is a repeated thread in the fabric of the Tico’s way of life.
Today, after checking out of our tourist lodge, we visited an organic pineapple farm. I was surprised to learn that I was woefully deficient in the actual facts involving the cultivation, organic needs, and eventual selection of the pineapples we purchase in the super market. Four perfect pineapples were sacrificed to sate our desire for knowledge of the MD2 golden pineapple (Ananas Comosus) but the goal was accomplished. Your children are now experts in how to pick the perfect pineapple and how to eat it! This was a delicious learning experience.
I had the pleasure of delivering your children to their overnight homestays in San Isidro. I hope that you will not think me unkind in the concealed joy that I took at observing them make their personal introductions to their families. Moments later, as the adults were shaking hands with their overnight parents, you could see the uncertainty in their eyes and feel the desire, from most, to be spared this new experience. For me, this was great theatre! They will rarely be more present and truthful than in those moments.
What I relish in these closing hours of service are their final reflections. As a group, they have done a marvelous job of bonding. The overnight homestay visits touched each of your children in unique ways. They understand now that they needed the visit to their rural families. Families that have built their humble homes, from foundation to roof, with their own hands. The pictures that we included in our blogs captured only the surface of a few moments that your child tasted, breathed and prayed their way through. The changes were subtle. They happened when they realized they were sleeping comfortably under three walls and an aluminum roof. It happened as they were served freshly ground coffee dripping from a cloth filter with steamed milk. It happened as they realized that Tico’s have opened their homes and way of life to the many and varied animals and plants that are native to Costa Rica. Most noticed the way people in the community flow from house to house and the way Ticos focus on their families. Find the time to really listen to what your children have experienced. When was the last time you were awakened by Howler monkeys, parrots, or a chorus of roosters on a fine weekday morning? There have been so many new tastes, sounds and sights to compare and contrast. In these closing hours before they return home to summer reading, chores, beaches, relatives and college visits, we will task them one last time to share and reflect on what they have lived with the hope that you will be the recipient of their trials and triumphs.