Going into my fourth week in Quepos, I realise I’m getting just as much out of living with the other volunteers as I am working in the schools! I am an older (more mature, heh heh) volunteer. My fears about not feeling welcome are gone. Our group, even though it keeps growing, is fully bonded as though we’ve known each other for quite a long time. But we do spend many hours of the day together in rather close quarters. Their voices and accents are so fun to listen to. They are all at least two decades younger than I am–some are four decades younger. Either they’re very mature, beyond their years, or I’m very immature. I’m getting the message that it might be the latter. For some reason when they talk to me they always bring up their mother.
I’ve been through the blisters of establishing summer feet, when it is below freezing at home. I’ve already experienced the reminder that my skin doesn’t look better with a tan anymore. And I’m told I will acclimate soon to the heat. I’m waiting.
The children at both el Cocal and Boca Vieja become sweeter as they get accustomed to our faces. They aren’t afraid to show affection and, I believe, we do provide a safe place for them to come and that they know it. Some are quite chatty and are too young to see that they need to slow down for me when they speak. Little Rolando, who stopped by today, pointed to the animals in the book we looked at and told me stories at great length about crocodiles and scorpions. But my Spanish is still slow and arduous and I only understood bits and pieces.
It’s like the whole experience. We teach a little English, they teach us much more about many more subjects, like about the universality of being children, about appreciation and compassion, and about how everyone needs to feel a little special sometimes.
Oh, and I don’t mean to brag but Tyrone, who’s about 8, asked me to go dancing with him today. I’m just sayin’.
Jani- Quepos Community Program Volunteer