On Saturday, March 27, twelve Jacksonville area residents representing Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville (HabiJax) travelled to Tucurrique, Cartago, Costa Rica to work with Habitat para la Humanidad Costa Rica. We worked to build a house for a family with three children. Here is an account of our time in Costa Rica and some pictures of our experiences.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day Six Photos

We lost internet connection last night so I wasn't able to post pix of our last day of work.  Here they are.
Jorge (Grande) - a Habitat homeowner and member of the Habitat Costa Rica Board of Directors - and very funny.
Jorge (Pequeno), our builder, and the future homeowner.
Jorge Grande with two 50 kilo bags of cement on his back. I had a hard time with one!
Finally, the last concrete slab is in place!
The whole gang.
Greddy, Habitat leader, and Eric, Habitat volunteer from San Francisco, with the family between them at our final night celebration.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day Six Recap

Today we completed our work on the house.  Literally, we did as much as we possibly could given the available resources.  Most of the walls are up and the septic hole and trench are complete.  The next task for them is to lay the plumbing and pour the floor. The house is 45 square meters, not very large for a family of five - two bedrooms, one bath, living room and kitchen.  It is a vast improvement over where they currently live.
After work, we had a party with some of the Habitat staff, the new homeowner family, and a few others at a camp that the owners are fixing up in an attempt to attract eco-tourists.  Interesting!  After swimming in the river and playing a little volleyball, we gathered for refreshments, followed by some speeches and the presentation of certificates to each member of our team.  We were all moved - both the locals and each of us.

Day Five Recap

Wednesday on the job site was very much like the day before.  We made great headway on the septic pit and managed to set many of the columns in cement.  Today, we should complete our tasks and then some.  Apparently, we accomplished more than any other group - they probably say that to all the groups:)

We had a surprise visit from Rafael Vargas, the National Director of Habitat para la Humanidad Costa Rica.  He addressed the group and surveyed the site and then I met with him and Jeimy, the country fundraiser.  I was struck by how the conversation was so similar to one that might take place in Jacksonville.  It was like Mary Kay (HabiJax president and CEO) and me meeting with a potential donor.  The words that describe what we do are the same, the mission is the same, the passion is the same.  I so enjoy being part of a global community sharing the common bond of fulfilling the Habitat mission of providing housing solutions to people who live in substandard or poverty housing.  What a blessing to be part of such a life transforming organization!!!

Thursday is our last day on site.  Hard to believe how quickly the time has passed.  Wednesday evening during supper we went around the table and reflected on our experience.  Some talked about meeting and playing with neighborhood children, some about how hard the family work on their sweat equity, others about how possible it seems to be happy while living so much more simply than most of us do in America. All of the adults commented on how proud we are of the teenagers in our group who have worked so hard and had such a positive attitude.  They have been wonderful!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day Five Photos

Rafael, Habitat Costa Rica Country Director and Jeimy, fundraiser for Habitat Costa Rica
Neighborhood girls offer a hand with the trench.


This is Laura and it is early Tuesday morning...we are heading off to our work site soon. Costa Rica is absolutely breath taking! We wake up each morning to the sounds of roosters crowing, birds singing, and the aroma of pure fresh air AND THE VIEW IS ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR! WE heading off to our work site which is less than 20 minutes away and the scenic route these is breathtaking too. I enjoy watching the native Costa Ricans (called Ticos) living their everyday life.

As we arrive at the work site, we begin our warm up exercises, discuss our daily jobs and off to work we go! Today, we are finishing our dig of a septic tank which is approximately 40 feet long and 1 - 1 1/2 meters deep, I have enjoyed working with all my new friends, getting to know my co-workers better and I especially enjoy the laughter and hard work of our students. Every time I get tired, I just look at our sponsored family and see how little they have and I am inspired to begin work again. Next, we mixed cement, carried huge cement blocks and began to design a wall. Thank goodness for our master interpreter, Tanya, she has made the language translation so much easier for us...and she has made it FUN! We worked hard and completed a whole side of a wall and we are almost finished digging the "never ending" septic ditch.

We are in for a treat, we get to experience the culture of our local family. They cooked us some tortillas and a mixture of plantains, tomatoes and spices. We showed them the American tradition of coke floats and everyone seemed to like them. Afterward, we wrapped up our day with a Costa Rican club dance performance by 3 teenage girls. It was a great show and a pleasant way to end our work day.

What a beautiful and rewarding day! Other than being a little homesick for my family, this has been such an incredible experience for my soul. :) I am so proud of Lily, Abby, Sam, Alex and Mike (our students), they have worked so hard and always have such a positive attitude (they are my inspiration too). Their laughter is contagious too.

Also, I forgot to mention, we have completed more in two days than our work supervisor has ever seen from another group. Not that we are competitive or anything!

Oh yeah, today is Mufasa's (Jim Fossa) birthday too. Some of our local habitat workers brought him a cake and we sang "Happy Birthday" to him.

"What a memorable day!"

Laura (a.k.a. Bozzie)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day Four Pictures

Laura saved this giant frog from sure death.
Tanya giving orders - again!
Our cheerleaders from the neighborhood.
Our truck arrived without a forklift - what's up with that?!!!
Mufasa digging the septic hole!
The teenagers checking the depth of the holes with their bodies.
Part of the wall - concrete columns with pre-fab concrete slats.
Jaime explaining the traditional process of making tortillas.
Our construction manager enjoying a coca-cola float.
Touring the sugar cane plant.
"Mufasa" (Jim) blowing out the candle on his birthday cake.