~All great things must end~

Thursday August 19th
Quote of the day—“Beauty is bread; it is food for the soul.”
Journal by Susan

Today is the last day of our work at CASEM. My hope is that we leave something behind (beside old t-shirts). I hope that we´ve made some kind of difference. Certainly, we´ve made some progress on the furniture for the diner, although someone else will need to complete the tables. While we came here to impact the lives of the people of Santa Elena/Monteverde, we realize that we will go away from this volunteer vacation more impacted than the people of CASEM. I want to spend this last day on the job absorbing every memory of the people and the place—the exuberance of Jose Pablo, the playfulness of Leidy, and the dignity of Nery.

We began our day at CASEM with a local rum cake contributed by Valinda. The only positive of the last day is that I will no longer be encouraged (demanded) to eat at least five meals a day!

The morning was spent alongside the local women, including Miriam who walked two hours to get to CASEM from a neighboring town, Maritza, and Edith. We worked feverishly to complete the sanding of the table tops. Although Valinda was ably attempting to use the power sander, our efforts were stymied once again at lunch by a persistent rain shower. Go figure! We spent a short time in the rain attempting to plant flowers, but to no avail. The last resort was an attempt to teach Edith, one of the non-English speakers, the proper technique for shooting a basketball. A picture, or in this case, a demonstration, is worth a thousand words! Even though we had no basketball, she seemed to get a kick out of practicing her form.

All great things must end. After taking turns purchasing our baskets of souvenirs, we participated in the traditional exchange of gifts and appreciation speeches. All were eloquent and heartfelt. It was extremely tough to say “adios amigos,” especially to the children.

The group of five headed out for the celebratory dinner at Johnny´s Pizzeria where we also celebrated Valinda´s birthday (on August 21st). Great food and reflections on the experience.

You never leave someone behind, you take a part of them with you and leave a part of yourself behind.

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