I was after a new adventure for 2013 and so I decided to give Volunteering a go - I researched several programs online and GVI continued to tick all the boxes, plus they were also very informative and responded quickly to my questions or concerns.
Arriving in Costa Rica we were met at the airport by Group Leaders and were taken care of right from the get go, a week of culture and logistic training prepared us for what was ahead. The realization was completely different, however I was here for a challenge.
A typical day . . .
Up early you are either assisting with breakfast, or still asleep whilst cleaning up after breakfast. The house, chores and meals are shared by everyone. And everyone has to give it a go, no matter how terrible a cook you are!
Then it's off to the bus, a short ride and then onto the Boat (dingy) to El Cocal. An illegal immigrant town literally resting on a sand bar. As you would imagine being near the water it's a fishing town. One of our tasks within Cocal is to try and get children, especially the boys to stay in school so that they may be educated enough to work in a profession, like the service industry.
After being greeted by several of the children at the dock, and wondering why most of them are not in school today . . . We arrive at the Child Care centre, a place for kids to come hang out, sports, do art work, get help with any homework. It's also a place where we are trying to teach adult english to those that are willing.
The days are a mix of playing, educating, conflict resolution and many funny moments, especially when you are standing in a class room try to teach maths in a room full of children whom only speak Spanish. . .
We finish school at about 1.30pm and then the rest of the day is yours!
Highlights - For me it was the end of year cultural celebrations, there are so many to be involved in, Guanacasta Day, Costa Rica's Independance Day, etc, etc and I loved helping the kids decorate, dress up and be involved these celebrations!
Definitely a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone!