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.