One of the reasons I volunteer in other countries is because I absolutely love to travel, and I believe travelling with an impact is just so much more meaningful for me personally. I also volunteer here at home, but I just love learning about the diverse cultures and the different people this world has and it's incredible to me. It's incredible how just a few short hours away on a plane, people can live so differently than us in North America.
Above is before we began construction, below is after we finished at the end of the week. Not quite complete but a great start! More volunteers will continue after us.
From the moment we arrived in Costa Rica, I already knew this mission trip experience would be a lot different than my last one. Knowing all my team members ahead of time had definitely helped us work together as a team. Each person supported one another and had each other's backs. It makes such a big difference, especially doing a construction project where a lot of us didn't have the knowledge. We stayed in a homestay with an incredible family who was so welcoming. We were so far from home but it still felt like home there too.
Our project was at Hogar Crea - a rehabilitation centre for adolescent girls who suffer from drug addictions. It was a construction project, designed to help soundproof their building walls for therapy sessions, and to provide a safe place for these girls to interact with their families and children (many of them were young moms, teen pregnancy is extremely high in Central and South America). With many of us not having construction experience, it was a challenge. But a fun and rewarding experience none the less. We accomplished so much in just a short week, it is great to see what can get done with an amazing team.
This slideshow is a look at the site we worked on.
I found the attitude of the people in Costa Rica was so positive and up lifting. Even the young girls, who were dealing with something very difficult, were so positive. You could see that the girls truly wanted help. Each one of them was very thankful to be there and to be receiving the help they need. One thing about the programs in Costa Rica is that they are government funded and voluntary. Unlike North America, individuals can attend rehab for free to ensure they receive the help they need. No one can be forced to attend these programs, but these girls chose to remove themselves from their situation and become a better person. Not only that, but the program director was in the same position as a child as these girls are in. She participated int he program and beat the struggles she had. She now organizes the program for these girls and can better understand the position they are in as she was in their shoes before.
Outside of our volunteering, we had free time and did some really cool activities such as a walk through the rain forest, a coffee plantation tour, as well as a beautiful dinner above the capital city San Jose. I truly believe my time in Costa Rica has impacted those girls. My love for helping others and volunteering grows stronger every time. I can't wait for my next adventure!