…On a sunday…

Cliff’s Journal Entry
Global Volunteers • 4.18.10 SUNDAY
Sta. Elena, Costa Rica

In a very easy and structured way, Nia ran a get-to-know-you and informational meeting. As she talked I had the vision that we are in the process of building a cathedral with others, not merely laying bricks. We are diplomats for transition and catalysts for change. Nia’s passion demonstrated a fine leadership model, both inspiring and grounding.

I enjoyed learning about the lives and diversity of our small volunteer group – Anna, Susie, and Karen. Everyone freely shared their careers and personal lives; I was struck by the diversity and similarity of people’s lives. We came from different parts of the world, yet everyone seemed to strive in their lives to grow and express themselves.

Regarding Global Volunteers, Nia was such a thoughtful ambassador of what clearly is a world-class program built of experience, wisdom and thoughtfulness. Global Volunteers rules and policies were crafted from a vision to create more self-reliant communities and to collaborate with and respect others in the process. Process is “king” or “queen”, not destination, a good philosophy for life anywhere.

We are giving our time and spirit, not things. Even if someone (a parent or child) gives us a gift, say thank you and remember we are already reciprocating.

Stepping back for a moment, we have been meeting for about two hours and the volunteers are still engaged, asking questions and commenting. The sun is shining; Fred is squawking; the tile floor is cooling; and the setting, arranged in an “L” is good for conversation.

“Money rates are changing so rapidly, don’t nickel and dime,” said Nia, “stay flexible.” Here is a good metaphor for our togetherness and contribution –– listen to others, stay within the rules, and enjoy the hard work and free time…oh, each other too.

So the paved road leads to the rocky road that preserves and protects the gem Sta, Elena, our destination, a mountain town filled with action and authenticity. We loved our clean and spacious rooms at El Viandante and our welcoming hosts Grace and Renzo with their dear children Julia and Paulo. We settled a bit and then off to town for a look, feel, and bottle of red wine. The sunset at our backs crowned the mountain like Saturn, striped with dark pink.

We sat down to an aromatic dinner of chicken, chayote(squash) and potatoes, punctuated with liberal; conversation that spanned healthcare to the Kennedy’s to Irish twins to Nia’s explanation of what constituted an ethical workday. All resonated with her interpretation. Just as I wrote this at 8:35 pm, I heard the hooves of prancing horses headed back from or going to the rodeo.

After dinner we are all sitting with each other listening to the rodeo music that wafts clearly up the hill and we are enjoying each other’s silent company as Gabriella draws and others read.

We had a very good beginning and day.

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