Between mountain and playa, pura vida

Trip Start Aug 17, 2005
Trip End Aug 15, 2006

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Thursday, October 20, 2005

Buenas dias todos
During the two weeks that I haven't written, many things have happened and as foreseeable, life here is becoming my real life. I now realize that I am here for a year. I am learning to love these mountains because of the wonderful moments I am living here.
Let me update you about the school first: good news came this week, an American Organization (NGO), Global Impact donated $5000 to the school and promised to give an other amount after Christmas. So this week we saw the apparition of doors on the class rooms. Now the teachers can actually close the school while leaving after class. I am still amazed at the fact that the school has been opened for two years day and night and that not once did the kids go in there to play in the evening or mess up the class rooms. I always expected to arrive one morning and find all the furniture upside down but no... that is an incredible mark of respect.
Other than that the classes are going good. At the beginning I was as much a teacher as a police man in the class room, discipline took up a lot of time, but slowly the children are learning European rules such as not to walk around the class, not to scream to talk to their neighbor and not to talk while I am trying to talk to them. It sounded normal for me that these rule would be respected but the Latin education is much more flexible than the European one. Furthermore a lot of the kids have concentration problems and some of them take Ritalin (the medicine for hyperactive children), so it is hard to keep them focused. That's why I am proud each time I have a small victory, such as this week, one of the boy had been sent outside the class because of his behavior and walked back in during my class, walked across the class to his friends desk turned his back to me and started talking to him. I was at the blackboard explaining something so I stopped talking and just looked in his direction. Then all the other kids in the class looked towards him and all together told him to stop talking and get out of the class. I did have to say anything: I felt really proud of the students.
With the students from Los Alpes I will be starting a theater play about the birth of Jesus, in November to present at Christmas in the church, and with the students from Juan Viņas we should be doing a teacher play too but I don't know when. This will be one other activity to look forward next month.
This experience in the mountains is excellent but I also enjoy the weekend. Each weekend I join the other volunteers to travel the country. 2 weeks ago we went to Nicoya, a peninsula with beautiful beaches. We were supposed to stay in a hotel, but it worked out that with meet some people there, made friends and ended up spending 3 days in their house, with 25 people all together. Last weekend I was supposed to go a Carnival in Limon, a town 7 hours from mine, but the hotels were full, so the other volunteers and I went to a campsite in the next town, Puerto Viejo. It happened that we had such a good time in Puerto Viejo that we did not even go to the Carnival in Limon. Just to say that each time we make up a program we end up in a totally different situation.
I don't know how to explain this. Every thing here is so rich, there is no time to be board, or feel lonely. I am having a wonderful time here, and the more I give to Costa Rice, the more it gives to me. I guess this country has accepted me and I am lucky to enjoy its charms.
This weekend in Puerto Viejo I was in t eh most amazing camp site. The first night we slept with my friends in a tent, but the next night I just went on one of the 200 hammocks hanging in the camping. The camping was directly on the beach and there was a place organized with benches on a circle and a fire in the middle. When we arrived at 11pm we went strait the benches on the beach and lit the fire, in a few minutes all the other people awake in the campsite came to the fire and we ended being more than 20 people and 2 guitars...What a night we had...The next morning we rented bikes for a 3 hours ride to an other beach, well worth the ride.
After such an intense weekend, I enjoy coming back up to the mountain, have the little girl waiting for me in front of the house, and go back to what is now my "normal life"...

As usual I will keep you informed of any major changes, for example if I do something else in the weekend than tan on the beach.... Sorry for those working in Paris, I think about you too.
Bueno chiquitos, grandes abrasos
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