Highlights from Our Final Days of Service-Learning in Costa Rica. We’re sad this is our last day with our team leader, Maggie. She’ll stay here in Monteverde awaiting the next team, while Diane stays with us until we leave for the airport on Saturday. For every student, service-learning in Costa Rica has been inspirational!
High School Student Service-Learning in Costa Rica
Today was our last full work day at Colegio. Everyone is already sad about that. Friendships have been made with local students, and what was once a cold empty gym we entered Monday morning has become the place where we socialize, meet work partners, watch and play sports, and dance! This morning, our work teams took time to find their rhythm, but before long, metal was cut to create new borders for the trail, the last of the rock was spread, and new dirt was brought to needed areas. A relay was created, with ticos and volunteers 50 meters apart on the trail, only running back and forth between deliveries and delivering to the next person. That relieved the need to run the entire trail from top to bottom with dirt or rocks, which at this point in the process, is very welcomed. There are sore muscles, peeled backs and necks, and blistered feet. But much joy and gratitude!
It was fun to work again with our local partners from previous days, and while waiting for rock deliveries, we sat on the trails and talked to one another. At the end of the day, the gym was divided in half, and basketball and dancing commenced (separately). Elizabeth danced with Sebastián and learned to salsa dance. She said it was embarrassing at first and she stepped on his foot, but had the time of her life! Kaycee danced with Josué and the moment the dance was over, she had a Facebook friend request. The Colegio boys have now adjusted to and welcome our aggressive female athletes. They actually asked for a rematch! Madi said that as cliché as it might sound, sports can overcome language barriers and provides another form of universal communication. When it was time to go, everyone had looks of sadness on their faces, knowing that we are nearing the end of our time at Colegio. Kaycee doesn’t want this experience to end. She is trying to make every moment count. Elizabeth says that though she could only say a few Spanish words to students, she found friends she will always remember and value, and that teenagers can just connect over smiles and fun no matter the language barrier.
Tonight we had dinner at the local pizza place in ‘downtown’ Santa Elena (it’s a block). Students ate, and ate, and ate! No rice and beans anywhere! We gave Maggie and Diane each Costa Rican artisan journals with notes from each and every one of us expressing our appreciation to them for all they did to make this service-learning program in Costa Rica the best. Maggie said the work ethic and flexibility of the team was amazing. Both got quite emotional when they said they’d really miss the students and enjoyed working with them. Teenagers have THE BEST ENERGY they said emphatically!
Tomorrow is our last student service-learning day in Costa Rica. We’ll have a goodbye fiesta, and back to Alajuela down the bumpy mountain. We will all leave a piece of our hearts here in Monteverde.
by: Elizabeth, Madi, and Kaycee