|Name: Kimberley Simon-Robert
|Project: : Community Education
|From: United States
As I begin to type my first words to describe my three weeks journey with AVIC, I am sitting in the plane on my way home, yet realizing all of my wonderful experiences and the unforgettable people I have met in Costa Rica.
Let me start by saying that up to this day, my trip to Costa Rica with AVIC has been my BEST trip. Lost among the Ticos who awaited for friends, family and clients at the airport, I was more than happy to find little Ligia smiling and waving at me from far. By just seeing her, I knew this was starting well. When we arrived at the dorm with two other volunteers (who are now family to me), it didn't take long at all to already feel at home.
This spacious house made for numerous people was the perfect accommodation, especially when it comes with a wonderful and adorable cook like Dona Isabel! The orientation the next morning around San Ramon was a great way to see what San Ramon is really like and definitely helped me to get around later by myself. This 12-block city is extremely friendly and contains everything that you could ever need. After bungee jumping and doing white water rafting during my first weekend, I was definitely set to start working on Monday ;)
My project was located at the community center in San Ramon, a community where poverty overtakes most people's life. On our first day, we went around the houses of Bajo to see what people lived in, which were definitely very small houses that could barely fit an entire family. However, this tour was very helpful in understanding the daily lives of the kids we would be working with in the community center.
The community center is very spacious and is definitely a go to place for the kids to feel safe, hangout and receive love from the wonderful teachers and workers of the center such as Laura, Jenny, Jessica, Henry and Jennifer. I have learned a whole lot from all of them and I can definitely say that those people care greatly about those kids. Everyday they give all their love to each of the kids by giving them huge hugs and kisses along with making them read, helping them with homework, or playing basketball with them for hours. It was very difficult to say bye to them and the kids but I for sure know that the kids of community centre are in great hands with them. The kids are more than adorable and are willing to learn anything that is possible. I will definitely never forget any of them along with their wonderful smiles. On a side note for future volunteers, knowing a bit of Spanish was definitely a must for really getting to know them.
Wanting to travel and see the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica, our Friday's being off were very appreciated as we were able to travel by bus that day and then enjoy our weekend in our desired location. Ligia and Alicia were very helpful in giving us advice for our destinations and our travel plans. Other volunteers and I traveled to Montezuma and Samara, which were both unforgettable beaches and small towns where we met people from all around the world.
Lastly, the option of teaching classes of different levels to adults at the university was another wonderful experience. Although it made our days a bit longer, seeing all the students motivated to learn each night made it all worthwhile. Teaching English to young adults and older ones definitely opens many doors for them in their lives and careers. Therefore it was my biggest pleasure to share my knowledge of English with them.
I can never thank enough Ligia and Alicia for all their help and loving personalities. I will never NEVER forget Mario (mi hermanote) and Karol, along with Dona Isabel (and her wonderful Picadillo de Chayote). I can't describe enough how wonderful this experience has been and how much I'm grateful for it. I have now made many wonderful relationships with the people of AVIC and many other volunteers, which I will be sure to maintain forever. I know that we will all for sure meet again. But for now, I'm not sad because it ended. I'm more than grateful that it happened. Pura Vida Mae.