November 15, 2011 § 2 Comments
i’ve blown the digital dust off the title of this post to reflect upon my first six months in the community of cerbatana. you may still be wondering, “what does he do?” good question. i’ll try to explain.
as you’ve probably guessed by now, my blog is much more concerned with presenting my experiences in costa rica through images rather than words. you’ve seen children defying gravity in the local school and people jumping off bridges but admittedly, i’ve largely failed to illuminate the work that i have been doing. the short response is: assessing the needs and overall level of responsiveness/openness to activities in cerbatana, brainstorming and reflection, preparing a grant proposal to solicit much needed funds for the school, english courses and aerobics classes (yes, aerobics class).
those are just the activities that endure. i am planning to hold a number of camps (photography and writing, exercise and sports, art and recycling) during vacaciones in january and february. also i’ve already tried and failed to start an after-school program in the school, which failed for a number of reasons that we won’t get into. most recently, i was given the task to recruit participants to a pani (i’ll explain what that is shortly) workshop, another mostly-failure. i also walk. a lot. and i’ve got the slightly creaky knees to prove it.
all of this is done with the goal of improving cerbatana, and costa rica as a whole, in the areas of health, education, life skills, work skills, environment and local government capacity. as a volunteer in the children, youth and families project, my primary focus is to identify the social problems of the community such as drug abuse or violence and to develop projects, workshops, and/or charlas (talks) that address those issues. my organizational counterpart is the aforementioned pani, el patronato nacional de la infancia. they’re the rough equivalent of children protective services in the states and are responsible for the promotion and protection of children’s rights.
after six months, i feel very mixed feelings. i’m still readjusting my expectations of what i can accomplish, what skills i can best utilize, and really, what should my role be as a volunteer in the community of cerbatana. this experience has been very challenging on many levels. i don’t expect it to get any easier, that’s for sure. when i started this post, i had so much to share, but i despise long- worded posts so i’ll end it here. hopefully i’ll soon have something more substantial to share. untiil then, saludos.
November 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
mountains high, rivers wide, oceans lapping on either side. here, mother nature still resides, the population a receding tide. costa rica! the green jewel!
after living 8 1/2 months in a landscape continually reshaped by nature, i’m only now fully appreciating it’s subtle force.
shoes, torn and tattered by rocks and devoured by mold, fall the way side. my clothes would soon be clothed in mold themselves if not carefully watched. the fat ’round my belly disappears as quickly as it appears. the hills are unkind. and the latest development: a fungus now happily feasts on my skin pigment, leaving faint white patches where the sun once laid claim (no worries, parents! it’s hardly life threatening).
it’s amazing to see what nature is capable of, even as polluted as it becomes each day.
*don’t stop recycling just yet.
November 9, 2011 § 3 Comments
two weekends ago, host mom, community organizer for the ministerio de cultura, put on a cultural event in cerbatana. the event focused on picadillos–veggie stews–made with native plants chicasquil and sorrillo, in an effort to preserve a part of their heritage. the day ended with an exceptional musical performance by a symphonic group from Pavas.