Lily Brown - General Care Projects in Costa Rica
If I had to use one word to describe my experience in Costa Rica, it would most definitely be: rewarding. But one word isn't enough, my three and a half weeks spent in Costa Rica, just outside of Heredia, were exciting, different, life changing, adventurous and special.
My Care placement in Costa Rica
I worked at "Little Angels" in Santo Domingo with some of the most amazing children I have ever met. Every single one of them was grateful, filled with joy and happiness, and lots of energy. I remember my first day, I was so nervous, due to my lack of knowledge of the Latin American culture and I wasn't yet fluent in Spanish!
However I couldn't have been made to feel more welcome. My host family was amazing, the first thing my host mum said to me as I walked through the door late at night was: "Hola, I am your mama tica for the month", she was welcoming, kind, patient and motherly.
The next day I went to work alongside another French girl (Ella) and I met Erika and Fernanda, who owned the kindergarten. All I can remember is enjoying going to "work" every day and spending time playing with the children. I felt like I was truly helping at the Kindergarten and was given a lot of responsibility despite me only being there for a short period.
I helped clean, feed the children, put them to bed, play with them, paint, sing, dance and lots more! Their gratitude was undeniable as they hugged and kissed Ella and I everyday as we left work and thanked us for coming. Erika and Fernanda were great too! Despite the language barrier, we always managed to have interesting conversations as I learnt about their background and what inspires them to do what they do.
Volunteering with Projects AbroadDespite my strong desire to travel the world alone, seeing as this was my first trip (and I was only 17!), I thought going with an organisation would be best! The Projects Abroad team was always on call and couldn't have been more helpful. Projects Abroad's time table allowed me to work with the children but also have time to discover the Costa Rican landscapes on weekends!
My month in Costa Rica was incredible and really allowed me to have a different view on many things in life. I returned back to my home in France with new friends, an understanding of the culture, a better knowledge of the Costa Rican people and the Spanish language and even new cooking recipes!
Pura Vida, as the Costa Ricans would say!
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.