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I've drowned my eyes

By Rowan Kassab 2 years ago
Categories Quepos

Cuddling my heart

I am working as a volunteer in Costa Rica, Quepos. Our main focus here is to teach English and support community development. Which ties in with working with the schools where we support the potential futures of the children and enhance their learning environment. To learn English is crucial for the future work opportunities of the children. The tourism industry is vast and much developed and we, as native English speakers and tourists ourselves, support the schools in giving the kids the tools to use English to their advantage for future work. Costa Rica has cuddled my heart, I feel warmed by everyone I have met. The culture embraces you. My face has grown new muscles from smiling so much. My eyes have become my best friend because of how much beauty I’ve drowned them in.


Jazel, Runia and Fernando

Everyone who passes through the GVI house brings a little spice of his or her own. We have our handy man and friend Fernando who is like a big brother he has ‘got your back’. Luckily our neighbour is the wonderful Jazel. She has a place in my heart; I have gotten to know her world. She has taught me her work, cooking and joyful outlook on life. She has stolen many of my smiles and laughter. Further our Spanish teachers, they give you more then just a language exchange, it’s cultural and personal. Making you feel at home, they make you coffee and feed you tasty treats. I was in heaven when I spent my first week in a home stay with the great Runia one of our Spanish professors and her family. I learnt to cook, to speak Spanglish, and being surrounded by fun honest company. I also learnt to dance with her daughter Rachel, who now I am slowly getting to know more through our language exchange classes. Sadly her Spanish and English defeat mine… I am a slow learner.


Rowan putting on her serious teaching face

Rowan putting on her serious teaching face

I am HAPPY how are you!

My personal reasons for choosing to volunteer in GVI Quepos is because I wanted to use my creative skills in a learning environment and this seemed like the perfect place to do that. This experience is slowly becoming a part of my bigger journey. Through JumpStart our English teaching curriculum, we encourage creative and physical learning. Therefore I can really use my strengths in a new and different context, which is exciting and fun, yet sometimes challenging. Teaching is hard, with no experience you are thrown in at the deep end. The whole process of being a volunteer with GVI is a learning process. You gain a lot of experience quickly, through workshops and personal experiences in the schools. Working closely with the schools, you build instant friendships with your pupils without even realising. I remember in my second week, it was such a nice feeling when I arrived for class and the kids ran towards me shouting ‘Rowan’ and actually seem happy to be learning from me and of course the other volunteers. They proudly used some of the remembered vocabulary. ‘I am happy, How are you?’



Some of Rowan’s students

Some of Rowan's students

Some of Rowan’s students


Should I stay or should I go, I have been questioning if I want to leave the project early to explore Nicaragua for instance, but I am held down because of whom surrounds me and seeing how much difference we make to the learning of the children. I want to continue working with GVI and I really want to keep a connection going on with whom I have met. I have ideas to marry my world with this world. Currently myself and the other volunteers are fundraising for Roncador School. Working with Roncador school has been a dream. The children are patient and want to learn. They all have so much respect for us as we do for them. In the last 2 months their English has improved, I feel so proud.



Rowan during an arts workshop over Easter

Rowan with student during an arts workshop over Easter

Rowan with student during an arts workshop over Easter


The Pacuare River

After our morning class our lunch is prepared fresh, we enjoy our lunch in a classroom; Divided by a thin board on the other side a class is in full swing. While enjoying scrumptious food it is easy to forget how much noise is made in a canteen. Which is usually a separate room. I feel these children really deserve the space to enjoy lunch and learn with no distractions of others eating and chatting. Previous GVI volunteers have already completed the outer building we just need to furnish and finish the interior so the big square hut on the lawn can be put to use. To raise the money we are doing a 4-day white water rafting challenge. It is not going to be easy and we are going to be pushing our selves physically whilst it being a special time to see another side to Costa Rica along the beautiful Pacuare River to Jalova’s canals. We feel it will be a worthwhile challenge if we manage to raise all the money and then can get started on making a difference for the future and current children at Roncador. Further if you know me or not I am willing to offer a day or two for odd jobs you have not managed to complete, or need help with. When I return to the UK ‘I will be ya gal’.


Rafters on the Pacuare River

Rafters on the Pacuare River

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