It already seems a lifetime ago that the pioneering first session of the fourteen-day Animal Rescue Project in Costa Rica ended. You were part of the first ever group to go through this program, performing service with Vida Voluntarios and with Asociación Voz Animal. I want to thank you for your service, and also to relay the same “gracias” from Vida, and from Voz Animal. You actually did something to help the animals in Costa Rica, and you can take pride in this fact for the rest of your life.
Do you remember seeing the sloth and all the monkeys in Miguel Antonio National Park? Thousands of visitors have already benefited from the trail we repaired and the bathrooms we prepped for painting in the Park, and the park staff have thanked us over and over for the work you and the other participants performed there, but I remember the beach time more than anything else in the park. It sure felt good to relax in the warm salt water after being dirty and sweaty from work.
Hopefully, now that you are back home, sleeping in soft beds, eating food you are used to, and taking hot showers, you realize that you have not only survived, but thrived without these things. Although it was difficult to take only cold showers in Parrita, I want you to remember instead the dogs and cats which you helped the veterinary staff work on, the children at the elementary school who you helped teach about animals and how to care for their pets, and playing soccer in the park with the local 8-12 year old boys. I know for sure that those boys were very proud to show off their soccer skills for all of you young ladies–especially since the world cup was going on during our time in Costa Rica.
We had hot showers in Liberia, and a small pool in the hotel, but the hard work continued. Keep in mind how poor the people were in Canas Dulces (the small town where we did home visits), but also I hope you keep in your mind how kind those people were to us, and how well they cared for their dogs, cats, and other animals–especially considering the few resources and little money they had to work with. Close your eyes and picture in your mind making the human pyramids in the plaza central of Liberia, dancing with the locals, and the smiles of all the people there. The saying in Costa Rica is “pura vida,” which is used more or less the same way we in the United States use the phrase “it’s all good.” Smiles are universal, and don’t depend on material comforts like many of us have back home.
The temperature in Orosi was certainly cooler than it had been in Parrita or Liberia, and the Hotel Tapanti Orosi was a welcome change for many of us. Remember how good the pizza in Orosi was, and how excited we were to get to eat it? Antonio and his family that run the animal rescue shelter “Asociacion Voz Animal” are still benefiting from the work you did for them. The walls you scraped are now painted, the whole building looks much better, and the dogs outside can stand on dry ground when it rains instead of in the water–thanks to the drainage system we built together. All of these things should make you proud for the rest of your life. Antonio sends his sincere thank you to each and every one of you, and so do we.
-Your GLA Summer Staff