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Last Monday, we began our volunteer work at the Escuela San Miguel in San Jose de las Montañas. So far, we have planted a garden, prepped the walls for painting, and begun painting. The work has been challenging both physically and mentally, but we have received a lot of support from the local community. From hoses to plants, the community has been generously giving us anything they can to help us improve the school. To help us with the garden, a local farmer gave us grass to fill in the area around the flowers and trees. Without the hose that we borrowed from a woman living near the school, cleaning the walls would have taken the rest of our time to complete. Perhaps the most unexpected encouragement we received came from our bus driver who offered his free time, experience, and supplies from home to help the school. On Friday, some locals came to the school to pick up the trash and ended up cleaning out a storage area full of rusted metal and rotted wood, leaving behind usable materials that had been buried under the trash. Aside from the physical support, the community has given us the opportunity to experience an authentic and pure Costa Rica. A local dairy farm allowed us to tour their beautiful farm and witness the making of cheese. There we held baby chickens, mooed with cows, and played with the goats who actually just wanted to eat our clothes. The most welcoming gift from the school was the opportunity to witness and to participate in the celebration of the Annexation of Guanacaste. This day remembers the union of the Nicoya state to Costa Rica on July 25, 1824. The festivities included dancing, singing, and other Guanacasteca traditions. Watching this community welcome us so graciously into their lives has encouraged us to fight harder to provide for the school in whatever ways we can.

Brandon Siedlaczek
Heredia Global Impact Summer 2 2011
Canton, MI

Gregory Harrison
Heredia Global Impact Summer 2 2011
River Forest, IL

Annexation of Guanacaste Celebration at Escuala San Miguel

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