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A local place for local people...

So far, I think I’ve really fallen in love with Cosa Rica. Or maybe it’s the nature singing out at me from every corner; the way the chicadas, birds and crickets create a soundtrack to every single moment that’s just missing in Dubai. There’s a lot to be said for the way mother nature makes you feel – I guess it’s sort of bringing me back to reality in a way. And life here is so simple too, well, especially in this little town of San Ramon, where our host family live. They have a small house, with just one bathroom for the 5 of them and all the guests that filter in and out – bringing them just 12 dollars a day per person from the volunteer organisation I to i.

Our host mum works as a cleaner and also makes beautifully tacky art from used wine bottles – seriously, it’s stunning stuff, the kind of things you’d see in little country cottages on windowsills, adorned with a curled up cat. She coats them in coloured sand and sticks painted clay animals like parrots and toucans on the sides. Feels a bit wrong to like them, but they’re fab. She even gave us one last night after we expressed our interest. There’s a festival here at the moment – the San Ramon festival. He was the bloke who founded the city… I think. Not quite sure, but it means the town is alive with music, dancing, bingo games, food and arts and craft stalls. We told Mama Tico she should have a stall there for her bottles but she says it costs $300 for the two-week privilege. We all know they don’t have that much money.

Our host daddy works 3 jobs just to pay the bills and put rice and beans on the table. He comes in late at night in his fast food uniform looking worn out, but honestly, I have never known such a happy man! He lights up the room when he smiles and when he looks at his wife it’s so adorable, you just know he feels like the luckiest man alive. They’ve been married for 16 years and she’s about 10 years older than him. They dated for one day before they got married. ONE DAY. Can you imagine that? Imagine knowing that someone’s right for you after just one day – how much drama, hassle and heartbreak that would save! Or maybe life is so simple, so black and white here, they don’t need to spend hours over analysing emotions and feelings, pouring over text messages and reading between the lines of emails. Maybe love is love and like is like and that’s the end of that. They’ve got 3 kids who are all gorgeous, bright and happy so they must be doing something right, even if they have to work so hard and give up their home to volunteers, like me, who can’t speak a word of Spanish and just has to sit there, clogging up the armchair like a rich mute, tapping away at an expensive laptop.

I feel a bit funny about that, really… I think it’s inadequate, maybe a bit stupid? They’re such interesting people. I really want to talk to them instead of waiting for translations. I can tell she’s got a wicked sense of humour. The daughter, Veronica is 13 and really wants to talk to me too. She bought me some earrings yesterday from one of the festival stall. I’d love to tell them all about Dubai and to hear about their own lives – we bought them a book about the city and they love it, they keep pouring over the photos of the glitzy buildings and asking us where we live. I’m not used to feeling like I can’t communicate,… it’s a really unsettling feeling that actually makes me feel a bit more grateful that I can write, even if it’s just in English. I’m going to have to learn Spanish,… get one of those audio lesson kits or something. It would be amazing to come back in a few years and talk to them properly.

Personally I don’t think they get paid enough from I to i. I’m not going to harp on about how I think I to I need to pay more attention to the needs of their volunteers or host families, as they’re doing a good job in getting people to the projects in the first place, but when you take into consideration that we spent 4 days waiting for the right tools to enable us to do our jobs on the site properly, and so far all we’ve been expected to do is dig a hole and sieve rocks from a giant pile of sand… arrgh. I don’t know, maybe I’m just being picky. I just think they could be filtering a lot more of that fat profit they’re allegedly not really making, into the projects we’re here to be a part of. Maybe I should have done a teaching project – there’s an orphanage here with 11 kids that 2 volunteers are working with – although allegedly they’re not doing much for them either, just a lot of sitting around getting ignored by the local staff. Whatever… I just don’t think building’s for me. I don’t get along too well with mud… unless it’s part of a spa treatment. I DEFINITELY have a new found respect for Dubai’s labourers though. It’s a tough job standing out in that heat all day, letting the monotony drive you mental! Standing there sifting took me back to my days in the factory, wiping the rims of pots of coleslaw, wandering as to the meaning of life. Or MY life… more specifically.

Anyway, we only have one more day left here and then it’s off to Nicaragua, where we’re heading to a place that looks like paradise. Little Corn island…

Posted by beckywicks 09:16 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged ecotourism

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