by Cosi Janssen ’20
Today was a day full of lots of new experiences and adventures! I am Cosi Janssen and I will be sharing today’s happenings from my perspective.
After a night influenced by heavy chicken, bird, and rain noises, Lizzy and I woke up in our host family to a typical Costa Rican breakfast, including rice and beans, eggs, meat, plantains, papaya, and a fantastic coffee. Reflecting on the time with the host family, it was nice to get to know the rural Costa Rican lifestyle and language. Even though I am a non-Spanish speaker and was really nervous about going, I was, with Lizzy’s awesome help, able to tell them a little bit about myself. We tried to find other ways of communication such as playing games, soccer, and showing pictures of our families. The house was typical for the community and provided a place to sleep for about ten people of all ages. Lizzy and I could see drastic differences to how we live but, surprisingly, all of them, starting when about fifteen years old, owned a smartphone with functionary data. This really got me thinking about where people set their focuses regarding living conditions in the current time – but I also realized that in this day and age, cell phones have become a necessity for living.
After we said goodbye to our host family, we met the group on the bus and drove to the school for our second day of community service. The school is in a conservative area and teaches students from pre-kindergarten until sixth grade. The Costa Rican government provides free education including the building, supplies, uniforms, and food. Students are required to wear uniforms: in the kindergarten the children wear light blue shirts and dark blue shirts, in primary school they wear white blouses and dark blue pants or skirts, and in sixth grade they are allowed to wear an additional blue tie since they are the oldest at the school.
Today’s service projects were painting the ground of the gymnasium in green, and painting the playground, tire obstacles, and hopscotch in different colors. All of these needed several layers which took a good amount of time and was interrupted by a heavy rainfall. After we finished all the planned projects, we had lunch in the schools dining hall which was the typical rice with chicken and a pasta salad with tuna. Sadly, we did not see any students today, because every school can take one day off during the week. Still, all of us were passionate about their work, because we enjoyed so much talking to and singing with them the day before. It felt great to make the school look prettier and renovate things in order to provide these children a good time at school. Reflecting on the service, all of us had a lot of fun, even though we were soaked in sweat, dirt, and paint, and, additionally very exhausted. It was amazing to see how much of a difference we could achieve in these two days. We tried to embrace the ‘Pura Vida’ way of thinking!