Giving Back in Costa Rica


Lots of people think that spending a semester in Costa Rica would be a lot like a vacation.  While in some aspects being in this tropical climate feels like a day at the beach, we still have to keep up with schoolwork and adapt to this unfamiliar culture.  One thing many of us have noticed is that there are lots of needs here in Costa Rica.  After seeing how much more fortunate we are than many of the people here, we have decided to help in a variety of ways. 

Jessica and Amanda have been visiting a nursing home to spend time with the elderly there.  Many of these people do not have family who visits them.  They are so excited to receive the companionship that Jess and Amanda offer when they visit.

Parker has connections through his Tica family to a family whose house burned down.  This family of two parents and eight children lost almost everything.  The children can’t attend school because they no longer have their uniforms.  Many of us know the dad of the family as the guy that sells fruit from the back of his truck in front of Mas por Menos and after Parker told us of his horrible news, we gathered some money to give to the family.

Erica, in addition to her practicum at Escuela Roosevelt, has been volunteering at the local elementary school Betania.  She’s been helping out with English classes there and became aware of the many needs of the school.  The school lacks materials for teaching English and the building could use a little repair.

In an effort to help, our GST and Education classes have joined forces.  In the Education class we are creating materials such as posters, flashcards, and games that could help the students at Betania learn English.  This past Thursday our GST class went down to Betania to paint two classrooms.  However, we didn’t realize exactly what was in store for us.  The two classrooms were fairly large with high ceilings and the administrator wanted the top half painted white and the bottom blue.  After about three hours of working and only having one coat of white in one of the classrooms, we realized we were going to have to do some rearranging.  Since we had to wait for the paint to dry, some people decided to return on Friday to paint a second coat of white.  Today, a couple of people returned to paint the bottom of the wall blue.  While the roadblocks we ran into were a little frustrating and we only got one classroom painting instead of two, I think we are all really glad that we got to help out.  As these last few weeks dwindle down, I’m sure we will find more ways to give back to this community and appreciate all that we have at home in the United States.


            Brandy Sparks



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