Friday, June 20, 2014

Pura Vida and Greetings from Santa Cruz!

(photo: Summer intern Cheyenne Pritchard paints the new schedule on the front of the library)

Summer intern Lexie Barber reports on the start of this summer’s Beyond el Campo project in Santa Cruz, Costa Rica.

Cheyenne, Joel and I arrived on Saturday and I can’t believe it’s already been three days. Time really does fly! Cheyenne and I left Chicago Saturday morning, and after a smooth four-hour flight, we landed in San Jose. The Costa Rican national soccer team was there so the airport was packed with reporters and cameras. It was pretty cool! We were supposed to meet Joel in the airport, but after 45 minutes of searching for him (with the help of a very kind old woman who ran up to every man in the airport yelling “Joel?!”), Sergio found us and told us that Joel was coming in late that evening instead since he got into a car accident on his way to the airport. He’s ok though so don’t worry!!

That evening we all got settled in our host homes and got to know our host families. I’m living with Clemencia and Tali who are fantastic people—so patient and welcoming. Cheyenne is living with Nuría and Pedro and Joel is living with Ana and her two sons Miguel and Cesar. Cheyenne and I live super close to each other and Joel lives down a hill from us, a little ways past the library.

On Sunday, Sergio took the three of us on a tour of Santa Cruz. Everything is pretty spread out, vertically and horizontally, and we haven’t fully adjusted to the altitude change so the walk wiped us out, but it was great to get a better sense of where everything is. We saw the elementary and high schools, the community center, grocery stores, greenhouse, and what felt like dozens of houses that are owned by Sergio’s aunts and uncles. After our tour we set up a calendar for all of our projects so that we would be ready to discuss them with the president of Santa Cruz and the women who will be working in the library with us. The meeting went smoothly and everyone seemed excited to help us make our dreams a reality.

Our first main construction project is to convert one of the classrooms into a computer lab. Today, Monday, we bought a bunch of paint and wood finish to give the room a fresh new look. We’re hoping to begin painting the walls tomorrow! Additionally, we have been helping the English teacher, Sandra, with preschool English classes and will be holding our own English classes for adults on Mondays and Wednesdays, the first class being this Wednesday.

It’s been a hectic couple of days, but honestly some of my favorite days in a long time. Santa Cruz is gorgeous and everyone in town is so friendly and kind. It’s clear that we can make a big impact here and despite being a smaller group than is typical, we make a great team and are all on the same page about what we want to accomplish in the next two months. I’m looking forward to all of our projects for this week, and a possible beach trip this weekend! More to come later on!

Ciao, Lexie

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