Guest Blog by Mark K.
Global Village trip participant
Here I am again in (or rather near) Sardinal in a hotel in Costa Rica getting up before our standard breakfast of rice/beans, fresh fruit and occasionally something they appear to think Americans--North Americans, like for breakfast—like hot dogs. We get up early, and return each day at 4:30, go for a quick dip in the ocean (to supplement the parsimonious showers here in the hotel) come back for dinner. Little chance to check email and charge iPhones as all electricity shuts off every time one leaves his room. The days slip by quickly. Thus I come to be writing about Week 2, Day 3, on Day 5.
As usual we experienced a variety of exotic flying, swimming and crawling creatures. Scorpions on the work site, surprised to be speckled with spackle, dead tarantulas, black vultures, Magpie Jays stealing food, and a pygmy owl keeping one eye on us.
Though this region of Guanacaste is lush during the rainy season it is very hot and very dry during the dry season. This year though we have been spared the worst of the heat by having significant amount of shade (Thanks Week one Crew for erecting the walls of the house in Coralillo), and a cooling breeze. As on all other mornings, we started the day with a volunteer waxing philosophically about the opportunities we have been given here, and what it all means. We head out with the essential hats, sunscreen and water bottles, and board the bus with a crew of 12 to spend the day working hard to do what a small crew with proper tools might do in a fraction of the time. No one complains about this—we understand our labor is free and we will manage to stucco and paint a house, inside and out, and pour a final floor for the entire house (approximately 550 square feet) in 5 days.
The family which will move into this house (Lidieth, Brian, Dylan, Christian, cousin Udella, Abuela) lived in a structure that a young Abraham Lincoln would have thought familiar. It was constructed of rough-hewn lumber planks nailed to two by fours, and covered with a roof. For our erection of the new home, most of the boards were removed from the existing house, to enable us to walk through it during construction, and to have a shaded area to eat and take breaks. Few clues were left to betray its former use as the family’s home. One was the nearby structure of sticks and plastic, which contained two beds and most the family’s belongings. Another was the wire that twisted its way through the ‘house’ wrapped around a series of nails, and ending in a small flat screen TV and what looked like an old Kelvinator refrigerator from the 50’s. I was unsure whether the refrigerator was perhaps used as a smoker to cook fish caught from the local river until Abuela opened it to retrieve its sole occupant, a battered plastic pitcher of water cooler than the ambient air temperature of 94, though perhaps only so as a result of being in the shade.
It was also odd to see Abuela (grandmother) sit in the “house” as the volunteers traipsed past, kicking up clouds of dust between her and the fuzzy picture and small squeaky tv speaker broadcasting a soap opera in Spanish. Fortunately the family will soon be able to move into the structure we have transformed into a house, and they will make into a home.