Costa Rica Day 1: Body, Mind, Heart, & Soul
As described by the Costa Rica Humanitarian Foundation, life is an upward spiral. It starts at the bottom with meeting basic human needs with food, water, and shelter or “body”. Up a level you have “mind” which consists of education and career training. Finally. you have heart and soul which come hand in hand with empathy and compassion.
Today, July 10th, we explored the town of El Carpio where we worked on two different projects with our in-country coordinator Gail.
Mondo Art: The first group worked on a Mondo Art project with children from the local school. The kids were asked to create a piece of artwork that resembled something important in their lives. This artwork with be taken with Youthlinc to share around the world.
New Beginnings: The second group was taken to help re-paint the first building ever built in El Carpio. We were able to hear the story behind this historic building. It was originally built by homeless children living on the streets of El Carpio that our in-country coordinator, Gail, helped get back on their feet. This group also spent part of the day playing with young children at the school.
Life in El Carpio: Toward the end of our visit, some local teenage girls put on a play for us about how their lives in El Carpio related to that of Anne Frank’s during the Holocaust. They spoke about how difficult it is to make enough money to support their families and how they sometimes have to resort to begging and prostitution to keep themselves alive. The local women sold us some homemade jewelry and artwork and we were amazed at how talented they were.
We were so happy to spend some time in El Carpio and make strong connections with the people there. They were all so incredibly respectful and appreciative to have us there!
Costa Rica Day 2: Making Connections Without Words
Today we travelled by bus to visit the indigenous tribe of Cabecar. Even though this tribe had their own unique language that we did not understand, we found ways to communicate with them and bring smiles to their faces. The children were so incredibly thankful and excited to see us, and it gave us all a new perspective on life.
Starting the Day: We started our day at the school by completing a Mondo Art Project with the children in the village, where we all drew something important in our lives and shared it with each other. These drawings helped us tell stories without words and form connections with the indigenous people. We gave the children school supplies and in return they even cooked us an authentic Costa Rican meal of chicken, rice, and vegetables.
Creative Souls: A group of humanitarians also pained the local clinic in the village that they hope to get up and running again soon. Although the paint job may not have been perfect, the people were so appreciative and grateful for our help. Before leaving, the Cabecar people sold us some homemade jewelry and artwork that they made by extracting the water from tree bark.
Wildlife in Cabecar: The walk back to the bus consisted of lots of exotic wildlife including chickens, wild dogs, bright purple grasshoppers, and butterflies. A lot of us crossed a river to and from the village, which gave us the chance to bond with our fellow team members.
We ended the night by travelling to Limón and staying in our beautiful hotel near the ocean. Overall, we had an amazing day and can’t wait to travel to Amburi tomorrow.
Costa Rica Day 3: Let Love Lead You
We started the day by leaving the beautiful city of Limón and travelling by bus to Amburi. Once we got close to our final location, we got off the bus and crossed a river with all of our luggage in canoes. Surprisingly, this was an easy task for them given the huge number of plantains they transport every day.
We were amazed at how kind the people of Amburi are. While waiting to cross the river, a bunch of locals sang a popular Costa Rican song to us and in return, we sang You are my Sunshine and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
When we arrived at our accommodation in Amburi, we met the owner, Roger, and his family. They are all such amazing people, and we are grateful to be working with them. Each of us have our own mattress with a bug net surrounding it (very necessary here). The area isn’t enclosed so we can here the sound of the rain at night.
The local children here are so sweet and we can’t wait to get to know them better. Today we met Siatami and Yosuan who are Roger’s daughter and nephew. They are so cute and we’ve been having a lot of fun with them.
After the long day of travelling, we all ate a popular Costa Rican meal for dinner and fell asleep to the sound of insects and rain. We. Can’t wait to spend more time here in Amburi while “leading love lead us” as said by our in-country coordinator Gail.
Costa Rica Day 4: One Step at a Time
At our team reflection, Jake Brockbank explained how important it is the keep going and never give up. Take each day one step at a time, one foot in front of the other.
Today was the day we began our projects here in Amburi. We all were given different assignments for the day which included construction, family visits, farm work, teaching, and sewing lessons. All provided different successes and complications.
Our construction team today consisted of 6 of us and 2 guides. We hiked about an hour to get to the location where we started to build. We are creating a spiritual center for the local women and we’re building it from the ground up using tree trunks and rope.
There were a few local men that helped us build today. Although it was hot and the hike was hard, we had a lot of fun with each other.
We started the construction project by digging holes and creating the base for the structure. We also started putting together the sides of the building. At the end of the day, we hiked down in the mud and only slipped a few times.
When we all got back from working on our projects, the showers were broken so Hadley Wilcox washed all our hair using a little outdoor hose.
Cannon and Jonny Hansen also participated in a local soccer game where we all cheered them on.
Today was super fun and we can’t wait to continue our projects here in Amburi.
Costa Rica Day 5: Interacting with People in Amubri
The second day of teaching began today at the local school in Amubri. Although not everyone speaks fluent Spanish on our team, we found ways to communicate with the kids in each class and teach them words in English. Some lessons consisted of microscopes, cup stacking, erosion, art, and so much more.
Home visits also went on today, where some of our Youthlinc group travelled to families in Amubri to learn more about the Bri Bri culture. We asked questions about the people and their clans, what advice they had to give us, and interesting facts about them. Most houses would usually say how important their families were to them, and how they think it is very important to pass their culture down to their kids.
Each house had an older woman or man who sat in the middle of all of us, almost like a “leader” of the family. These “leaders” only spoke Bri Bri, but some of the rest of the family communicated with us using Spanish.
Another connection made through communication was through some of the humanitarians on the Youthlinc team playing soccer with each other and some of the guides/Amubri kids. It was super fun laughing with each other and having a really great time in the village, and becoming closer with the people on our team.
Many people may believe that we can only communicate using language, but there have been many instances where we are able to communicate using things such as music, art, and just our hands to get our messages across. It has been super exciting to learn more about this unique culture while we have been staying here as well as share a part of our culture to the people here too.
Costa Rica Day 6: Making the Most of It
Although our time here has been super fun and life-changing, being the first Youthlinc team in Costa Rica has its setbacks.
Unfortunately, due to miscommunications, we were unable to have an opening ceremony and spend as much time with the locals as we thought. We also had a few complications regarding taking photos, housing, teaching, etc. We are all learning to be flexible, and everyone has been so positive throughout the entire trip. Although this trip hasn’t been what we expected, we are making the most of it and all our experiences here have been incredible.
We have formed strong connections with our tour guides, Roger’s family, and especially each other. Everyone here is incredibly kind and throughout the setbacks, we have bonded with each other and had so much fun.
During a very emotional team reflection, we determined that we are all “making the most of it” and truly making a difference in this community whether we believe it or not.
We are so proud of each other for how much we’ve grown and adapted, and we can’t wait to continue our work here in Amubri.
Costa Rica Day 7: Committees Hard at Work
Today the business committee continued teaching their lessons. They met with two local business owners: Kimberly, a bakery owner, and Danny, the carpenter. With them, they discussed the 5 P’s of marketing: Product, Price, People, Placement, and Promotion. Danny and Kimberly were fairly knowledgeable and have started a little bit with their businesses.
Danny just began his business and wanted to know how he could improve it from where it is now. Kimberly also just started and is doing her little business in her own home. She just needs to find a place for her business to start and expand. Kimberly made all of us some famous breads she makes for others as well as her banana bread (It was so delicious that we ate 10 loaves of bread and two full banana cakes in less than a few hours).
We taught the women the basics of sewing – how to thread the machines & bobbins, how to maintain the machines, etc. Then we cut out patterns for pin cushions (because the store didn’t have any), and masks. We also taught them to hand sew potholders out of rope for when the power went out or the machines broke down (which was often). Last, but not least, we taught them to make small zipper bags and covers for the sewing machines. The women expressed gratitude for igniting a “spark” of interest for sewing and they are excited to keep practicing and to learn more.
Day 8: Exploring More of Amubri
The health committee and a couple other people drove for twenty minutes to the sire to host the Health Fair. They crossed a beautiful suspension bridge and more of the jungle on their way to the area they would teach their health lessons. They taught many different topics such as women’s health, CPR, food and nutrition, and substance abuse.
Colombian Cultural Music
Dinner at the Radio Station