February 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
say it fast, or don´t say it at all. bomba!
Bomba! Una mujer estaba cocinando y se le prendió fuego al delantal, si no llegama tiempo los bomberos se le suena lo principal.
Bomba! Ayer pase por tu casa y me tiraste un toca Disco y si no me capeo y si no me capeo y si no me capeo y si no me capeo y si no me capeo y si no me capeo ….
Bomba! ayer pase por tu casa y me tirastes una chancleta y me la comi pensando que era una chuleta.
Bomba! Del cielo cayo un panuelo, pintado de mil colores y en una de sus esquinas decía, costa rica de mis amores.
Bomba! Ya se oyen las marinbas y las bombetas a sonar, ya comenzo el turno y la chica para tomar…uyuyuy bajura!
Bomba! No me gusta la cebolla tampoco la remolacha, no vengo por el tata si no por la muchacha. uyuyuy bajura!
February 12, 2012 § 1 Comment
all these people walking past me
as if they’ve forgotten me
you see this gate, who’s it really protecting, you or me?
gotta protect the jewels, precious me
these broken windows don’t define me
i’m a product of the times, heed me
can’t you see these vines they cho-ke cho-ke choking me
yes, es prohibido el ingreso me
but someone please come and get these birds off me
they be poopin in twos and threes on me
i know sometimes i’ll sway left, tilt right
i was solid once, at least i’m still sort of upright
one day i’ll be gone and out of sight
disappeared, erased from memory, me asusta
i just want to be algo eterna
January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment
last friday I moved to a new place. same town, different living situation. my host family and I parted ways with the pleasant uneventfulness of everyday life. a short and sweet goodbye with a touching invitation to return at any time if my new living arrangement should prove untenable. for the first time in twenty-six years of life, i am living
it is customary for children in costa rica to live with their parents until they marry, and sometimes well after that. that my move to living apart from a family met mild curiosity is an interesting insight into the changing attitudes to family structure and independence in costa rica. it’s at least a reflection of the familiarity american culture enjoys here.
a part of me would have liked to have stayed with los arley for the entirety of my service but the development of circumstances and the persistence of other reasons (none serious or taboo) were cumulatively taxing. many volunteers don’t leave their host families for a variety of reasons, but it’s widely recognized as a difficult undertaking. for me, it was that wonderful experience of cultural exchange, community integration and self-exploration. it also was mentally exhausting and strangely, induced in me a kind of complacency that seems to have been remedied for the time being.
it’s a new year, calendar and lunar, and i’m happy for the changes and the chance to start anew. the year of the dragon, the year of the budget, the year 2012, whatever you wish to call it…it’s going to be a good one.
January 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
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.
September 14, 2011 § 4 Comments
as stated elsewhere on this blog, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of peace corps. to commemorate the occasion, peace corps-costa rica is hosting a photo contest and exhibit for volunteers in costa rica. two of my photographs were selected for the honor of being exhibited alongside twenty-two other fantastic photographs at the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano in Barrio Dent. the exhibition takes place next tuesday, september 24, at which time the winners of the contest will be announced.
::cross your fingers::
below are my contributions with captions, vying for the top prize and eternal glory upon the walls of the peace corps office in costa rica.
Don Carlos portrays the butcher, as he prepares a pig at nightfall. Over his lifetime, he has been farmer, builder of homes, husband, and father. In these ways, Don Carlos embodies the quintessential person and workmanlike spirit on whose back Costa Rica was built.
In the small town of El Progeso, but better known as “medio palo” in reference to the unfinished homes that line the unpaved roads, one skirts the surface of life and encounters anything but paradise. Despite apparent hardships, a father happily poses with his son, revealing a different, and perhaps more truthful meaning to “Pura Vida.”