Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Micro-Giving in Costa Rica

While it's nice to donate to charitable organizations, it's always seemed impersonal and hard to see specifically how I was helping. Also, many organizations use up a lot of their funds on administrative expenses, real estate, staff etc. There are many wonderful organizations who do great work, but I'm enjoying being able to help people directly in La Paz and San Ramon.

Janet and I bought 2 used Apple laptop computers before our last trip to La Paz. Our plan was to donate one to the La Paz school to supplement the one old desktop computer that serves the whole school. The other was a gift to our neighbors, the Arias family who have never owned a computer or been on the internet.

Our neighbors love living in their pristine country setting. They have welcomed us as a filtered source of the bigger world outside. They don't travel, but we bring some exotica into their lives. Yet, they know that learning the internet and English are 2 things that will increase the options in the world ahead for their children.

It was comical going into San Ramon with Mariellas and Carlos (9) to use the WiFi at Cafe Delicias. They now have a Gmail account and access to all the information the internet has to offer. I don't think I have to worry about them becoming addicts like folks I have known, but they now have a good tool for connecting with people far away and learning whatever they are curious about.

We gave the other computer to the La Paz school and received a sincere heartfelt thanks and warm welcome. The principal, teachers and students all shared how surprised and appreciative they were of our donation. Cool stuff.

I'm hoping to volunteer to teach English at the La Paz school in the near future. Since many of the English teachers have never lived in an English speaking country, often their pronunciation or knowledge of common ways of speaking, idioms, expressions, slang etc. is limited.

It's great to donate money to charitable organizations who really help their target groups. For me, it's been nice to be able to give directly to my neighbors things of $$$ value and also share my experience. I have learned so much from them about how to successfully live in San Ramon. Life is good when there is balance.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm Back... Wow!

I haven't written for a few months as life got hectic and challenging. After some time in the USA sorting it out, we returned to Costa Rica last night. This is the longest I had been away from Costa Rica in 8 years. As we drove from San Ramon to our little paradise in La Paz, life just became simpler and innocent, or as the locals say "muy tranquilo."

For me, the key to a good and successful life in Costa Rica is good neighbors. While we were away, the Arias family took care of our land and house so well... it made me teary eyed and oh so welcomed. As we drove up to our house, we saw the beckoning lights. Our house was clean and the kitchen was stocked with organic fruits and vegetables from our land.

After a long day (17 hours) of travel and months of stress, sleeping in this serenity is healing on so many levels. We awoke to clear blue skies and awesome mountain views. The birds sang at sunrise and the sounds of the river combined into a symphony for awakening.

As a bookend to one of the most difficult parts of my life, I feel very blessed at the moment. Life is an unfolding mystery that keeps changing. Time for a nap to soak it all in ... beyond words.