I miss the mosquito netting… go figure. The billowy fabric that I tangled myself up in nightly in Ghana, I’m missing. So much so that I woke up in the middle of the night and thought someone had taken it. It took me a few minutes to realize that I’m in Costa Rica, not Ghana. It is hot but not near the heat I experienced in Ghana and I do have the mesmerizing whir of the fan in my face at night like I had in Ghana, so it does feel somewhat “familiar.” I’ll learn to live without the netting, but will have to find a new way to make my bunk my “camp.” Our room is huge and is only occupied by Lynette and me with another volunteer coming from Canada to do the vision screenings with us tomorrow. I’ve stacked and restacked and organized my small pile of belongings until my nest felt like home. This is a very important part of my entry into a new culture and something that I enjoy very much, even though I’m only dealing with a couple of stacks of clothes and a bag of toiletries.
The house is big and our room is huge with 5 bunkbeds and as of tomorrow, will only have 3 of us sleeping in them. The bathroom is almost as big with a large walk in shower that we couldn’t figure out how to get water out of last night, and were shown this morning how it works. I’m guessing it’s the Costa Rican touch as neither of us could get it to work tonite. We will probably need to get this sorted out before too many showerless days get underway. We were forewarned, however, that there is no hot water in the house so showers are cold, as is the water where we hand wash the dishes after every meal. Some things you just can’t think too much about. Our house is a 10 minute drive from the small town of Santa Cruz and is tucked away in a rural setting with a mountain backdrop and cows and horses for neighbors. It really is quite beautiful here.
The coffee is amazing, which was a wonderful surprise for me as it usually has been a disappointment (instant) and more than once while on a volunteer trip, I’ve made the switch to tea because of that. I like it so much that I’m skipping the milk and am drinking it black…something I’ve not done in a very long time.
I’m going to be very happy with the food… simple, basic, good. El gallo pinto, the national dish of beans and rice, has been present at every meal so far (4) as a side, and is the main course at breakfast. I may feel differently after 2 weeks, but right now, I’m happy.
Lush and very green is the best description I can come up with regarding the topography. I’m loving the gentle rains, which I’m told is good as I’ll likely see it every day I’m here. It’s light and intermittent and really very pleasant. My hair doesn’t care for it, but oh well.
We had a 2 hour Spanish lesson this afternoon and it had been a while for me, but I was pleased at how much I remembered and remembered how happy it makes me to conduct conversations in Spanish. I hope I’ll fare as well with the kids, who I’m told will speak little to no English.
Very, very friendly. Our in country manager, Franklin, said that is in part because we are in the country and the people here are more “humble” than in the big cities.
And most importantly, we can brush our teeth with the water directly from the bathroom faucet! But no flushing toilet paper, which isn’t surprising.
Costa Ricans seem to have a sense of humor…as witnessed in the signage around the house.
Tomorrow we begin our vision screening in a nearby school. I always feel a bit anxious on the first day, hoping I’ll remember how to do the screenings (the computer program specifically) as it looks like Lynette and I will be giving the tutorials on how it’s done to the other volunteers. That first day is always an exciting one. I’ve yet to be disappointed.