Amigos Nuevos/ New Friends!

Tuesday August 17th
Journal by Pat

We enjoyed our usual casual breakfast. The conversation picks up gradually as we have our coffee. Interesting topics always emerge. One of the topics this morning was the effect of immigration on Costa Rica – mostly the downsides of being such a popular country.

So, as per usual, we left a bit late for CASEM – pura vida! The morning started out with clear blue skies so we were able to work outside on the table legs, and eventually, the table top. Initially, I worked next to Damaris. She was a perfect match for me. She knew enough English to help me learn some Spanish with occasional help from my Costa Rican Spanish book. Dennia could also speak English. Damaris learned English in school, Dennia, while working as a babysitter for an English speaking family.

The girls from the Coffee Coop and 2 American exchange students from Japan (Yoko and Yuri) were also volunteering at CASEM. I think they just walked in and volunteered to help. Yoko and Yuri went with Andy, Susan, Nia, and I to the Chocolate store. Once again, the rains came – surprise, surprise – and we were stranded at the Chocolate store where we had a delightful time drinking tea, eating chocolate, and visiting. Nia took advantage of the opportunity to plan a pretend trip to Japan, finding out where to shop cheaply and what to see. We finally decided to slosh back to CASEM in the rain to put in an hour of work before taking off on other excursions.

After work Susan and I walked to the Children’s Reserve where we were drenched once again. Alone we entered the dense forest with strange sounds – a little eerie. We were searching for monkeys and toucans – maybe next time. We did see Guans (big turkey-like birds) and coati (mammals with long snouts and long tails that travel in trees and on the ground).

Valinda went to the orchid farm. Andy chilled. At dinner we tried to tease him about his after dinner outing with the Coffee Coop volunteers to some unknown (to anyone) bar, but we couldn’t get a rise out of him. The rest of us spent the evening resting up for tomorrow.

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