After our first night with our respective host families, we began our second work day at the Linda Vista School. We shoveled sand, trimmed trees and rearranged rocks, among other things. Though these tasks appear tedious, the group began to evolve as a unit and proved adept at working together effectively. We worked in the Costa Rican heat for roughly three hours before going to lunch at one of the villager’s homes close to the school. The hospitality we have all been shown has been astounding to each of us. All of the host families have gone above and beyond to accommodate us while also providing an authentic experience true to their native culture. Becoming integrated into another family with unique social dynamics provoked group discussion of our own social culture and customs, noting both similarities and differences. Technology has begun to make an impact, and the amount of influence it has on so many people we have encountered here lead to another discussion of how technology in our own lives has affected our relationships with friends and family. Before we became engaged in the talks we were given the privilege of swimming in the local river, whose image was accurately described by one student as “right out of The Jungle Book” I write this short synopsis from a rocking chair on a deck overlooking the Costa Rican forest by which we are all surrounded. I hear the laughter drifting around the corner from the students embracing the opportunity to disconnect from a world of technology that seems to have encompassed us and instead live peacefully in the here and now.
Today, as we learned in our discussions, we must build long-lasting relationships. I believe that technology, such as the Internet, can suck up much of our time, however, it can be helpful in educating people. This piece of our daily lives that we take for granted is something that many in Linda Vista do not have. By living closer together and not relying upon relationships online, I have learned that I need to reinforce my core family values in my life, so that I stay truly connected. Technology can make us drift off from this essential part of our lives. As I was playing soccer with the Linda Vista School, I realized that even though they do not have many luxuries, they can sometimes be happier than me. They stay very happy with what little they have, and I feel rewarded and blessed that I can make a positive difference in their lives by making a playground. Specifically for one student that does not enjoy soccer, a playground would completely change that kid’s life. I love what I am doing on this trip without a doubt in only the three days that I have been here, I have definitely changed physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is remarkable to see how happy and comfortable the population is with their economic situation. I am very grateful for my host mother and father. They are very considerate, playful and fun. Moreover, they make delicious food. Rosa, the mother, and her daughter, Margarita, made delicious lamb sausage and cooked plátano last night. In contrast to their cultural dish last night, for breakfast they made eggs and white bread this morning, which was more American. Nevertheless, they both were fantastic. To sum up, my experience in Linda Vista has been much different from any previous service trip. I have gone and donated to a hospital in India and have seen physically and mentally ill children and adults, but that experience, which also enhanced my life brought about a different change than the change so far on and in me in the few days already of this adventurous, fun, exciting, beautiful, rewarding, profound, life-changing trip. Lastly, I would like to thank the chaperones, WLS, and my classmates and especially my roommate, Harrison Thompson. They have guided me and brought me more comfort on this trip.