A Travellerspoint blog

The little house that Becky built

Do volunteer builders get manicures?

So the second port of call on our trip is with an association called i-to-i, who are sending us to Costa Rica on August 16th to build houses. Like I said before, we’ve been wanting to “give something back” after living what some may call quite a privileged lifestyle in Dubai… (ahem) and this charity allows volunteers like us to live with Costa Rican families, who will feed us rice and beans three times a day and, according to the trip-notes, provide us with “a microwave” and “hot water”. I’m assuming we won’t be expected to heat the aforementioned rice and beans ourselves in the aforementioned microwave. I haven’t even washed my own dishes in a year and a half, let alone attempted to re-heat any food I haven’t cooked.

The family who are kindly giving us their guest room in their house near the active Arenal volcano, have three children and a dog and we’re expected to buy the children some gifts. This is fair enough, seeing as we’ll be using all their hot water and microwave. We’re waiting to hear back from our “country advisor” on how old they are before we buy anything. Presenting a 23 year old with crayons would look silly in any culture, and I sure as hell don’t know the Spanish for “Sorry but that’s all Carrefour had at such late notice; you should be glad I didn’t bring you an ornate camel”. I actually had one of those, before I shipped it home for the ‘rents to enjoy yesterday. Sigh. Everything’s changing.

At first, the idea of house-building was quite a romantic one, in my head. I would of course show up looking cute, tanned and ready to rock with a matching hat and drill set. My toned ass wouldn’t sag at all below my Jess Simpson style hot pants as all the Costa Rican boys sat about bare-chested, marveling along with my man at my instant ability to speak Spanish AND throw a wall on the side of a house without breaking a sweat. In reality of course, my man will be lifting bricks, operating heavy machinery and mixing cement, while I’ll be crouched on the ground, pulling weeds out.

I thought for a minute, maybe we’ll all get our OWN house to build?? How exciting! Although, mine would inevitably look like this:
old-shack.jpg

Whilst my perfectionist man’s would, of course look like this:
new_shack.jpg

We’re also traveling in the rainy season, which means we’re having to buy macs and waterproof jackets. Not very sexy. Shorts aren’t advised – it’s khakis all the way. But hopefully my mani/pedi won’t get too scuffed as I’ll also be wearing some hip working gloves and chunky boots (with thick socks to keep the critters out). Hurrah!

The truth is, I don't actually know WHAT to expect. Either way, I reckon it’s all gonna be quite an eye-opening experience. Especially if the volcano erupts.

Posted by beckywicks 03:08 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged ecotourism

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