I am writing this as I sit barefoot enjoying the bliss of wireless internet and overlooking the Sarapiqui river with her small raging song. How can my office possibly be this beautiful second story porch where Tucans appear in trees and monkeys have been known to play?
My English classes do not begin until February 8th and so I must instead scramble to organize my Becados Scholarship 2010 program. I was hoping to spend my birthday (a saturday) at the beach for a weekend trip to the Pacific coast… but instead I will be here from 9-3 meeting with all of my scholarship students and their parents, signing contracts, writing letters to their sponsors and participating in a service project for the center. Not exactly the perfect birthday, but definitely memorable! My goal is to double the size of our sponsorship this year and I am already brainstorming ideas on how to most effectively contact various organizations and institutions with the details of our program (if anyone thinks they might know someone/church/business that might be interested in providing an education to a deserving student let me know!)
Yes, my weak long arms manipulated the angry rapids of our intoxicating Sarapiqui river (with the help of an oar, a guide and five other rowers). It would seem cliche for me to simply say I cannot begin to describe the surrounding rainforest scene and so I will instead post a few photos and compare my new home to that of the animated film Ferngully (so much greenery). As a new bird enthusiast I chanced upon several Snowy Egrets, Turkey Vultures, Kingfishers and my favorite, the Montezuma Oropendola. While the rapids aren’t extreme here the river was slightly more aggressive after the torrential rains that I so divinely avoided (apparently it rained a week straight before my arrival). I brought the sun from Minnesota?!
I promptly gave up on appearances after realizing that life here is akin to permanent camping. My feet are always dirty, living in flip flops. My hair is a frizzy mess of sticky curls because of the humidity and is always back in a disheveled ponytail/bun. All of my clothes smell like musty dirt even after being just washed.
Basically all I need for my day is a deodorant stick and my Burt’s Bees chapstick. I haven’t abandoned shaving although the freezing showers make this difficult. I did paint my toenails the other morning and the toe nails of little Jessica who then insisted on painting my fingernails all by herself. Needless to say my nails look amazing! I had a good laugh when the other night, at Kaity’s birthday barbecue, John (a rafting guide) commented on how it may be difficult for me to maintain my manicure here (it was dark outside). So I showed him more closely in the light and replied that it wouldn’t be a problem since I have a five year old nail technician living in my house.
This place is undoubtedly changing me. I am comfortable inside my tin shanty now and wonder why we really need all of those big rooms back home anyways. That carpenter guy from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition could go crazy here with the amount of people needing a new roof etc… And yet they are all so incredibly happy and nice! Women wave, baby on hip, as I walk my little route home on the death highway. This death highway is the main road connecting Chilamate (our town) to the surrounding towns. It is 2 lanes and hosts a wide variety of cars, trucks, semis, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. There is a small section near the local school in which a sidewalk is available but other than that we are all supposed to share this paved thoroughfare.
La Pura Vida!! More stories and photos to come!