Wednesday, May 12, 2010

We're Going Bananas!

So, we've visited our site and are incredibly excited about the
adventures that are to come in the next two years of our lives. That's
right, we've whittled down that 27 months to just two more. Next
Friday we become official Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and on
Saturday we'll catch a bus to our new home in the hot and humid region
of Sarapiqie!

We had a busy couple of days during our site visit - we met all of the
staff members from the escuela (elementary school) and the director,
assistant director and English teacher from the colegio (high school)
along with many other community members. We attended a meeting of the
local development association and a service at the Catholic church.
We wandered aimlessly through the community and got a basic
understanding of what home will be for us. And, we ate, and ate, and
ate. Our future "mom" is the cook at the colegio and our future "dad"
used to work in the restaurant world and our house has a "gourmet
kitchen" (meaning it has ample counter space, a double sink, a gas
stove, electric stove, and wood stove, and chicken wire covering two
of the walls, because what is the the point in putting in glass
windows if you're just going to open them all of the time because it's
so hot?).

So anyway, about that food. We learned how to make a delicious red
sauce and fried plantains, and I'm sure we'll learn much more in the
future. When we told our "mom" Maria that we would like to learn how
to make Tico food she seemed excited to share. What makes this
expedition to learn the secrets of Tico cooking more exciting is that
our "dad" Rafa is very involved in the kitchen, which is pretty odd
based on experiences we have had thus far pertaining to gender roles.
Needless to say, we're quite excited about what is to come.

In addition to delicious food, the people that we met were very nice
and everyone offered to help us as needed (in typical Tico fashion).
We have been blessed with amazing counterparts. Our community
counterpart, Orlando, is the guidance counselor at the escuela and is
very involved in the community. He and his wife, Alejandra, live
around the corner from us and I think they will become good friendx in
the coming years (besides, rice and beans de Alejandra are amazing -
add a little coconut milk and chili and you're good to go!). Our PANI
(think Social Services) counterpart is equally amazing. Flor is the
social worker in our local office and has somehow learned how to make
a little time in her incredibly busy life to oversee 3 PCVs. She is
very sweet and hosted a breakfast for us and Rebecca, (the other PCV
in our region,) to introduce us to the rest of the office staff. I
think we're off to a good start and we'll get even more settled in
during our first three months while we complete our community

What else to share at this point? The community is beautiful (maybe
not Martha Stewart beautiful, but the kind of rustic beautiful you
find in the middle of rural banana fields). The banana fields go on
for kilometers and every once in a while you encounter the river, a
horse ranch or a cattle farm. Everyone rides around town on their
bikes and says "buenas" when you pass them by. We wake up to the
sounds of the roosters Maria raises. And, I think we shock people
when we actually speak in Spanish.

This is our life - we love it! You're welcome to visit any time
starting in September!

Check back at some point to see the pictures we have yet to take,
they'll be beautiful!

Sent from our adventure companion!

1 comment:

Karrie said...

Hi Leslie,

My name is Karrie Hraban and I am an RPCV from Peru. I recently returned to the US and will be taking a group of high school students down to Costa Rica this July to do some volunteer work in a colegio outside of Heredia. I was really hoping to find a PCV who maybe lived close by or would be in San Jose during that time and would be willing to come and talk to the group about their projects. It could be very informal, maybe just show some pictures and talk about their experiences, but I know how well PCVs get to know the country and the culture, and it would be amazing if these kids could get even a small glimpse of that. (Plus, it would give the volunteer something to add to their annual report =o))

If there are any volunteers around there that would be willing/able to help me out, I would really appreciate it! My email is, or they can send me a message on facebook, my name is Karrie Hraban (the one with the girl standing by a waterfall).

Hope you are having a great experience in Costa Rica!