Returning to CASEM…

Monday August 16th
Journal by Valinda

After an eventful weekend and Sunday night, we settled back into our Global Volunteers routine. Three lovely women – Olga, Ivonne, and Mariaelcida – joined us. At first, we waited for Tarcisio, who is Sury and Ipsi´s father, to join us because he was going to show us how to use the power sander on the tabletops that had been cut from tree trunks. Unfortunately, he didn´t appear, so Pat, Susan, and I spent the morning labeling display shelves in English and Spanish. Andy and Susan also hung another set of pictures on the stairwell wall. Andy was bereft without los niños, who apparently stayed home to prepare for the return to school on Tuesday.

During the morning coffee break, we practiced Spanish with our new friends. Lunch was a savory chicken stew and a delicious rice drink called horchatas. After lunch, we had an interesting conversation with Patricia Jimenez, about U.S. politics and the Tea Party movement. During lunch, Pat and Susan´s new friends from Wisconsin (Annette and Cindy) arrived to see CASEM. I learned how to wash dishes in cold water.

The afternoon was filled with new activities. Some of the niños, including José Pablo, showed up, so Andy played a couple of futbol matches with them and Susan. Neidy joined in for a little while. The niños were pretty talented. Andy thought he would have had a much harder time if he wasn´t three times the size of the boys. Susan was a tough competitor, but she puzzled us by yelling jump ball at odd moments.

Back at work, Monica showed us how to use the electric sander and Andy and I had fun working with it on the table tops. ¡Power tools for todos!

After work, we were able to return to Los Cipreses to upgraded rooms with balconies – or what Nia called Beverly Hills. Dinner was a traditional Costa Rican soup with a spiced molasses-based drink (agua dulce), served hot. We had a spirited conversation about movies and dreams, with Andy trying to explain how we could have lucid dreams. Very Twilight-Zone-ish. We ended the evening with wine, cheese, and silly police t.v. shows. A good time was had by all. ¡Pura vida!

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