Saturday, July 17, 2010

The new team has arrived!! (I am offically a leader)

Well, it has sure been an exciting week! All of that hard work and prep has definitely paid off. Last Saturday the Costa Rica team arrived and that is when my role as a leader offically began. For the past week we have been training the new volunteers about how to teach in the schools and how to live most effectively in a community together. We have had to give the new volunteers all of the information we learned over 3 weeks, but this time in one week. Lets just say it has been a bit tiring. It has also been completely worth it!

I really enjoy being a leader on the team. My role as a support person is to be the eyes and ears for the coordinator (who often does not have enough time to actually be with the volunteers). So far I am 100% this. I listen to what the volunteers say during their free time and if its necesary report back to the coordinator. For example if I hear people saying the way that the material was presented in the morning meeting was very distracting, I suggest to the coordinator to change the way she presents the material next time. Being a leader also means that I really have to put myself aside and truly care for the group and the group´s sentiments, instead of my own. For example, if I feel tired or bored I have to make sure I look the contrary. But in this action, I also have to make myself feel alert and positive so in a sense I trick myself into actually feeling this way! Its pretty cool. I am also really exercising my ability to be patient, and its been a little bit hard at times. Yet, through these challenges I know that I am learning more than I ever have in my life.

On a separate note, tomorrow we are going on a trip to a beach named Playa Hermosa (Beautiful beach). I sure hope it lives up to its title! I am so excited, I need that kind of break more than words can express! Then on Monday we begin teaching! I could not be more excited. This is what I have been waiting for for months.

Because of time I am going to highlight a few other exciting and fun things about being in Costa Rica with the new team:
-Our neighbor sells chocobananas...chocolate covered frozen bananas and you can get coconut and condensed milk on them too!
-I drank coconut water out of a coconut yesterday´-The food here is delicious!
-I have only 1 roommate instead of 4, and I love her!
-Laundry Machines
-the team is amazing, its been one week and it already feels like a family

Ok that´s it for now. Miss you all SO MUCH!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Costa Rica Livin´!

Hellooo Everyone!

So first I would like to apologize. As you probably have seen the past few posts of mine have had many typos and I´m so sorry for that. During this program we have a lot of work and only about a half hour of free time a day so I write these posts very quickly and have not yet had time to proof read them. Ideally I would really like to proof read them but if I did, they would never get posted. Also, the keyboards are very different here so some of my typos are because of that. Anyways, hopefully they don´t get too much in the way of understanding and know that I will try to edit whenever I have the time.

First of all let me just explain a bit about the past few days. On July 2nd we crossed the border to Costa Rica to spend the weekend with the Nicaraguan leadership for the last time for a month. Sadly, on the morning of the 2nd I woke up really sick. I had a fever and a nasty stomach ache. I kept hoping that I would feel better but I only felt worse. I had a fever of 104 degrees while we had to walk a mile across the border carrying all of our bags. Luckily, the team carried most of my bags. But as you can imagine I felt like every ligament in my body was going to fall off. Let´s just say it was miserable. Then, we had a 2 hour fast and rainy bus ride to Liberia, Costa Rica. After medicine my fever only got higher. I was a little bit scared. But finally we arrived at the house we were staying in Liberia, Costa Rica. Marcela, Jana (the founder of the program)´s good friend and former GL volunteer, kindly let 12 of us stay at her house for 3 nights. This was such a comfort to me because it was furnished, there were no bugs, and and it was much cooler than in Nicaragua. I lot of funny, yet too personal of stories to put up here, about traveling while being so sick so maybe I´ll tell you at a different time.

Immediately when I arrived there she took me to the hospital. I have to say I was so delirious from my fever I do not remember much of this trip. I was told that there is a lot of animosity between Costa Ricans (Ticos) and Nicaraguans (Nicas). I was curious to see how much of this I would actually experience. And I saw it right away at the hospital. When I told the doctor that I had just come from spending time in Nicaragua immediately she made a disgusted face and said, "Oh. That explains your sickness. Nicaragua is full of germs and very dirty. Everyone gets sick when they go there". This is completely not true. Yes, it is flu season and a lot is going around, but its flu season in Costa Rica too. Also, supposedly the water is not drinkable in Nicaragua but a lot of the US volunteers were drinking it and were fine. So, it is clear to me that this was racism and not reality.

Sadly, there was a party to celebrate Global Learning´s 13th anniversity on Saturday night and I was too sick to attend! This was very sad for a couple of reasons, I would get to meet a lot of the founding team members and develop a stronger spirit for Global Learning. Another reason is because it was my last night with the Nicaraguan team. Luckily the next day I woke up feeling much better and got to say my goodbyes to everyone. Also, I will get to see them again at the end of the program when I go back to Nicaragua for the post-training. It was very sad for them to leave though. It literally felt like I was saying goodbye to part of my family. The rest of the day I felt a strange feeling of homesickness. Both for Nicragua the coutnry, and the people on the team. Even now I imagine I am hearing their voices. It is amazing how clsoe you can become to people in a such a short time. I made friendships that I know will last a lifetime and I cherish them so much. But, I am lightened to know that I will see them again in a month!

So, many times I have alluded to the fact that I have a lot of "work". So in this post I will try to actually elaborate on this work and what it has entailed. July 4th concluded our training period. Our training period included lots and lots of meetings. We focused on teaching pedagogy, multicultural training, children´s learning types, etc. We also were trained on how to leada group of volunteers since we are the leaders. We have to give the volunteers almost all of the training we received in one week instead of 3, so we have to know the material very well. Also, because this a growing and developing program we document all that we do so that it can be replicated in future years. So, a lot of our time is spent documenting as well. So, a typical day during training looked like this:

8:30 breakfast
9:30 cleaning
10:30-12:30 meeting
12:30-1:30 lunch
1:30-2:15 personal time
2:15-5:30 meeting
5:30-7:30 dinner
7:30-9:30 meeting
10:00 bedtime

I have learned SO much. So much about teaching, living with a large group in small spaces, leading, cleaning, how to delegate, how to stay positive in difficult situations, how to motivate children, how to work with an international group of individuals, and SO much more! And I think I feel ready.

So now, we have 4 days until the volunteers arrive and we have So much more work to do. We have to contact the schools and work with the teachers and pricipals to discuss the lessons and the times and dates that we should come in to teach. Prepare the in-coming volunteers, document, make visuals, set up the university (where we will be staying), make the lessons, plan the program weeks, etc. So that is the work that I will be doing until they arrive.

As of now we are staying in a cute little hostel called Posado del Tope in Liberia, Costa Rica. It very very nice! Ooops, I am running out of time so that is all I will tell for today.

I still miss you all a lot! Next post I will tell you more about Costa Rica, but I can tell I love it already!