I thoroughly enjoyed my time at both Linda Vista and the Good Samaritan Homeless shelter this past week with our Veritas class. I loved participating in the workshop and facilitating activities with the children as well as observing and interacting with the staff and residents of the homeless shelter.
I knew beforehand that Linda Vista was a school for students in an impoverished area and I anticipated seeing a lot of poverty and poor socioeconomic status. Sure enough, the neighborhood around the school was reflective of its resources and economic standing. On our way to Linda Vista we passed a different school where students were playing outside in crisp, white and black uniforms and I thought to myself, no, that can’t be where we are headed—the students are dressed too nicely. However, I was surprised that the students at Linda Vista did have uniforms. Yes, they were a little rumpled and wrinkled, but uniforms nonetheless. Most of the children appeared to be clean, had good teeth, had solid shoes, and brushed hair. There was a lot of energy in the classroom and it was exciting because we were forewarned that there might be a lot of sadness present due to the violence and corruption in these particular students’ lives.
The school was old and evident of a poor neighborhood, but it was still a school with staff and teachers and students, albeit a little unconventional. For the most part, the students were very eager to learn and participate. I thought my classmates and I -with the help of our teacher- did a good job of organizing the activities and working with the students despite some logistical issues (rain, changing classrooms, little space, etc.) I am so glad I decided to step up and take on the nutrition demonstration. I have a passion for both children and nutrition, and it was incredibly rewarding to teach and inform them of good nutrition.
I am not sure how effective my presentation was, but if anything good stemmed at all from it, it was definitely the reaffirmation that I need to implement the advocacy of nutrition and healthy living into my future career. It was fun to use my Spanish with the students and they were forgiving and understanding when I made mistakes. I am definitely interested in doing something similar in the future in possibly another study abroad program or here in Costa Rica again.