I know I wait so long between posts but time is truly flying! I can’t believe that in 8 months I will be back in New York, but I have truly missed home and all my friends & family. In the meantime there is still much work left to be done. The past couple months have been a little bit crazy (in terms of the slow lifestyle I have adapted to lol). Since my last post I’ve had a couple salient events that have been a set back in my project plans but have managed to motivate me even more. After my camp in July I took my own vacation to Barbados to see my mommy!!!! And that was wonderful, I was also able to spend time with my best friend, uncle, cousins, & other friends and family that were able to come out. I realized at the end of my vacation how much I have grown since I last saw my mom & friends. My first vacation it was so hard for me to come back and leaving my mom and watching everyone resume their lives was a difficult process for me. This time I came back to Costa Rica and when I arrived in my apartment I actually felt like I came back “home'”. It was nice to feel like I am truly integrated in my community and can call Matina another home. At the same time I came back to madness lol.
Two days after I left for vacation there was a major flood in my town. Many people lost there homes & property and 6 people lost their lives. Since I was out of town, I heard of the flood via Facebook, and immediately called one of my friends in town to find out the what happened. Due to heavy rains & storms, the river flooded and the dam, which was built many years ago, broke at several points and flooded the town. This flood was apparently one the worst floods in the history of Matina. Initially I feared my apartment was flooded and all belongings were floating around in water and mud. Thankfully my apartment is a bit elevated and the water did not enter into my home. When I returned to my community after vacation I was very saddened and my heart heavy to see the damages that occurred and to hear what people went through. The flood also affected my work. My community partners who were helping to coordinate the ALA camp had to pull out at the last minute due to their own personal issues that resulted from the flood. The Matina river runs directly in front of the high school therefore it received a great deal of damage as well. Classrooms were ruined, school materials were lost (desks, chairs, computers, books) the basketball court, as well as some of the materials I brought from the grant we received to repair the court.
At first I felt so overwhelmed about what to do but was encouraged by the heart and positivity of my community members. As soon as I came back my ADI (Community Association) approached me and said no matter what we were going to finish this project and that was all I needed to hear. Before the flood they planned a Bingo to raise money to pay for the manual labor, I thought they would cancel; instead they decided to reschedule and it was such a success. I never felt more proud of my town then in that moment. We worked together and were able to raise 3/4 of the funds needed for the manual labor! We used the funds raised and the rest of the grant money that was meant to buy the backboard and hoops to buy some of the materials lost in the flood so that we could start to work on the court. I am so thankful that were were able to at least repair the main infrastructure because on Sept. 5th there was a 7.9 earthquake. If we had not done the little bit of work we did before this earthquake the whole court would have collapsed. Although we started the repairs we are not able to finish without buying the rest of the materials needed. Since many people are still trying to recoup from the flood fundraising within my town is very difficult. Therefore our best chance is donations. This is where you come in!!! Below I have posted a link with the address to the Peace Corps website where you can donate to my project. I have also put together pictures and a video of the flood.
I know I mentioned the earthquake like it was nothing but it was one the most frightening moments of my life. I was sleeping and violently shaken out of my bed because my apartment was swaying back and forth! Thankful once again to the big guy above that there were no damages and everyone was safe.
Needless to say there were some big events that went down in these last 2 months. Yet I am still going, moving forward with positivity and motivation that we will get things done. Every moment has been a blessing and the trials a test and I will not fail. I am still planning on doing my ALA camp but I have decide to change the venue and work with the new Peace Corps volunteers in my area to make it bigger and better! Big thanks to all my supporters, friends, and family for being such a huge encouragement.
(UPDATE: As I was about to post this blog and put in the link to for donations I found out my project has been fully funded. Since I posted the link 3 days ago on Facebook, friends and family have already donated all the funds needed, allowing me to reach my goal!!!! So happy )
Till next time, Abrazos
The entrance of the high school/ all the chairs and desks that were destroyed
The basketball court
A houses that were destroyed
Inside my friend’s home/ A visitor from the flood water
The main road (It was just newly paved about 9 months ago)