Written by Justine Blair – GVI Quepos Community Volunteer
As I look back on the blur that was my first week, I realise life may get better than this, but I have yet to find where. In between the time spent goofing off (educationally of course) with the kids at the community center, afternoons of surfing and lying on the beach, it’s no wonder this first week and a half have gone by so fast. We were a large group to arrive last week, and the incredible heat left us all in puddles of sweat, which I think contributed to the bonding experience. That and laughing at each other’s broken Spanish has been a great aid in making it feel like a second family. The Spanish classes are an incredible help in bettering my communicating skills with the children, as well as being incredibly fun. Our classroom can be anything from a supermarket to an incredibly beautiful viewpoint. The classes itself are often interrupted by dancing sessions with Carlos, the teacher. I am hopeless in that department, so he usually gives up quite quickly, with a disappointed sigh and a shaking head. However, I have become much better at drinking the Costa Rican coffee, which he essentially shoves down my throat.
As I am writing this, a thunderstorm has started, and rain is pouring down heavily. As I gush about how excited I am to be wearing a sweater for the first time in ages, and my housemates hide under the table for ‘cover’, we all have a thought for the people we see everyday at El Cocal. What for us is an excuse to huddle together and exclaim at the sheer strength of mother nature, is probably an entyrely different experience for these kids who do not all have an adequate home to hide from the rain. A reminder that we didn’t come here only for the beach and the cervezas, but to open our eyes to the reality of the lives of people who have so little of what we take for granted. Our tan lines will surely fade, but the memories made everyday will undoubtedly remain.