Last – Part II:
Life in Costa Rica has been quite different from living up in the mountains in Nepal. To begin with, the climate has been warm and “day-to-day necessities” are all available here as I have not been in any remote areas. The first thing I realised when I got here is that I would have the luxury to enjoy showers – yes, they may have been cold most of the time but it has still been access to a shower every day!
I thought I would go on a different diet in Costa Rica considering the supply of fruits here; however, I have mostly enjoyed, rice, beans, crackers and chocolate. Si, very good meal plans indeed. I will miss plantanes, luckily they have it in Colombia as well so I can continue eating that. And rice. And beans. Maybe some cutbacks on the sweets would be good for me.
What else? Well, I love most of the things with Costa Rica and its country and I have enjoyed learning Spanish and I am eager to continue learning it. For some reason, I still giggle whenever I hear or see the word “Bombero”, I sigh over the multiple meaning of certain Spanish words but enjoy that the grammar is not as difficult as in some other languages. There are rules and not that many exceptions. A friend who is learning Swedish told me the other day: “You have 4 rules and 47.952 exceptions” – maybe not quite but I understand the point he was trying to make and it is funny because it is true.
I am also intrigued by the fact that almost any kind of medicine can be bought straight over the counter here. About a month ago, I hurt my leg and who would have thought that some Costa Rican bacteria gave it a nasty infection. The amount of painkillers, antibiotic cream, anti-inflammatory pills, antibiotic pills AND antibiotic shots I got over the counter is almost slightly scary. But it probably killed any bad bacteria I had in my system. Which brings me to another thought – does anyone know if I should be worried over “remains” of an unknown bugbite from Nepal (October) on my finger which still itches and as soon as it seems to heal it gets itchy and annoying again. For the past 2 days and nights my hands go numb and all blood rushes to it making me unable to move my fingers (this only happens to the hand with the bite). Now it feels sore and my knuckles are kind of aching and I feel stiff when I bend my fingers – do I need to be worried?
I have travelled a lot by bus here in Costa Rica and it is an excellent way to get around. However, I must say that the whole busschedule and system thing is so complicated in a way that no one really knows exactly how it works with busstops and times. Not even the drivers and if you are asking them on a bad day, well, then you might end up in the middle of the highway, in the middle of the night with no lights or clue of where you are or where you are supposed to go. Yes, this happened to me the other night and I was afraid to get run over by a truck as I was walking in the dark on the highway holding up my flashlight from my little i-phone hoping they would see me. All ended well and I found my way home but that journey took me almost 4.5 hours instead of 1.5
Residencia de Vida and the children
The children at Residencia de Vida are blessed and I am happy to have met with Cherie who has worked so hard and still is to ensure the best conditions possible for Emanuel, Naydelin, Jacsel, Priscila, Esmeralda and Nati. Time has gone by so fast and when I look back I reallly cannot believe how fast it has gone by.
When Nati asked me why I had to go I told her that even though I loved them I had to go to Colombia. “Why”, she asked. I explained that I have a lot of love in my heart and that I wanted to share it with children. I said that I think the children in Colombia need me more at this time. “I understand” she replied. You are so loving and so mature, dearest Nati.
While travelling for a year, you learn to pack and travel lightly. I brought 3 tees and bought 1 more. The 1+ that I bought is undoubtedly my Costa Rican outfit – a black & white striped tee. It can be seen in 98% of all of my photos from here. To the extent that one day during class, Priscila 10 years old asks me: “Ms. Jenny, don’t you have any other clothes? You always wear the same” 😀 All I could do was laugh and explain that I actually do wash the shirt every time I have worn it.
My last day with the children was on Tuesday and I made them Swedish meatballs, mashed potato, pickled cucumber and cream sauce. For dessert some cinnamon apples with vanilla ice-cream. We took lots of photos and said our good-byes. They had made me beautiful cards and I cried while hugging them and realised that I already missed them. I had made them some cards as well, in which I had chosen a specific famous quote for each of them and written something for them to remember. I think they liked them.
Jacsel, who has been the most difficult to start class with showed huge attachment and it made it very difficult for me to leave. What does it mean that it was difficult to start class with him? Well, before when I wanted to have class with him, he either screamed: “NOOO!!!” before I even managed to start forming the words in my mouth to tell him it was time for class or he ran away from me and I ended up having to chase him. It was always a negotiation about time, where he would start off with declaring a “1 minute-class” and I started with “1-hour” and he became generous and willing to extend to “2-minutes!!”. Usually we would agree upon 30-45 minutes, well, the trick was to make Jacsel believe he was deciding the time 😀
When we said our good-byes, Jacsel hugged me so hard with his arms and legs and did not want to let go. My heart melted and almost broke at the same time and I was reminded again of why I am doing all of this and how priceless the time with the children are.
For the past few weeks I have seen an improvement with a lot of things in regard to the children. It makes me glad and feel at peace to leave knowing that they are growing as they are learning and I hope more people will enter their lives who can help them open up and grow even more to become the great individuals they are.
I have not created any new art during my time in Costa Rica, nor have I sold any existing paintings. However, I have started a new project regarding the art and hopefully I can share it with you soon.
Last week, I also received two special orders of paintings and will hopefully be able to get some material this coming month to start painting them.
What does it cost?
If you can or would like to make a trip such as this one – and also understand why I want to sell my art I have decided to share the costs from Costa Rica.
(all prices are approximate and in SEK so it could vary depending on which country you origin from)
Non-profit organisation 16.000
Visa for 90 days 0 (as a Swedish citizen)
Hospital visit/medical care 2.200
Others such as snacks, phone etc. 20.000 (special free time activities/others not included)
Private donation, some Therapy costs N/A (waiting for more facts and information)
Schoolmaterials and other activities 818
What happens now?
Since I would like to know more about which options there are for the children regarding consistent therapy I will be in touch with Cherie and Jill about this. Not sure yet what it all means in detail, how much I can help or how it will work out, but one day at a time.
I will be off to Colombia tomorrow night, and start working with Fundación Poder Joven on April 1st/April 10th. Poder Joven currently helps 130 children where I will be teaching and also assisting in other various projects such as self-esteem workshops. This project is not through IFRE or another volunteer organisation which means I do not have to pay anybody in between but it also means that I, for instance, needed to find a place to live by myself. My plan is to stay for 3 months in the project until around mid-July and also visit 2 other projects while I am in Colombia. These projects are located very north of Colombia and close to the border of Venezuela so I will look in to that if it is Ok to travel there by myself at this time.
I will be working 5 days a week 8.30-16.30 but will need to take a few trips to California during certain dates. Hopefully I can share with you soon what that is all about.
Costa Rica in my heart
To all of my friends and readers out there – Thank you for supporting me, following me and also for your reflections and comments – it means the world to me. You know, there is a Chinese proverb that says:
“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand”
Also, remember that unless we care a lot, nothing is going to get better and intention is nothing – action is everything. And I have met so many people in Costa Rica who care an awful lot and who share a mission to improve lives of children. THANK YOU Costa Rica for everything that you taught and showed me. THANK YOU to all the wonderful and genuine people I have met here who also have taught me so much and left me with tears in my eyes while saying good-bye. As usual, even though it is only good-bye for now, time goes fast and we do not know when we will see each other again. I will be back as I will go back to Nepal, it is just all a matter of time.
Please enjoy the few photos (can be found under the Swedish blog page, Home button) from Costa Rica and do feel free to discuss any ideas or opinions you have. I really wish I could share more photos with you but unfortunately the rules dictate that the children’s faces can not be shown or only from the side in photos, I am sure that you understand.
My final reflection while I am finishing this text is that no matter how difficult it feels to leave Costa Rica, it is time. I am humbled, grateful and ever so happy for everything. I also remind myself that it is my own decision to leave earlier and that I can always come back – whenever I want.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” – Henrik Miller