Monday, January 18, 2010

Service Learning

I'm on a blogging roll tonight apparently.

We've been getting a lot of updates in our e-mail the last week or two with some last minute tips and information before we set off.  One of these e-mails contained the long-awaited info on the site of our Service Learning trip.  [UWEC requires a minimum of 30 hours of community service before graduation.]  One of the main reasons I chose Costa Rica as my study abroad program was because of the Service Learning project, so I had been anxiously awaiting to find out where we'd be going.

The program coordinators, Ana and Maria, chose the proposal to help the Yorkín Women's Project in the Carribean/Talamanca region of Costa Rica, which is about 6 hours south of San Jose [refer to last blog post for a map of the country :)].

I can't even express with the best words how absolutely ecstatic I am to do this.  It's going to be incredibly hard work but the pay-off will be much greater for this community.  The Bribrí women came together to develop The Yorkín Women's House project sixteen years ago in efforts to help their community become independent of outside influences so as to retain their culture and reverse the effects of alcoholism and machista attitudes that were quickly taking ahold of the community members' lifestyles.  They created their own resources by beginning to grow their own food and developed new sources of tourism-based income by educating themselves and building three rustic lodges to welcome and accommodate visitors.  About a year ago, one of the lodges was destroyed when a nearby river flooded.  We will be spending 10 days in the jungle with the Bribrí indigenous community helping to rebuild this lodge and also to teach English and Art to the community's school-aged children.  Just two quick reasons why I'm pumped:  1) After the drive down, we will be traveling another hour by canoe to reach the community, and 2) There is no electricity in this village.  How many people are excited to have no electricity?  'Cuz I am!!!

This is going to be one of those events that really shows both yourself and others what you're made of deep down.  It's not going to be easy to rebuild this lodge; it's going to take a lot of patience and a lot of diligence.  I think about the little things I complain about each day and the things I constantly take for granted and I really can't wait to go and have it all put into perspective.  I can't wait to wake up every morning knowing that I'm going to go work on a project that is having a positive effect on someone's life.

1 comment:

  1. Muy bien Katie!! I'd write more in Spanish, but all that I learned years ago has escaped my memory. I'm so excited for you to go on this adventure! Can't wait to see updates on your blog. - Dana Steebs