Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Counting Holes with Costa Rican Children

Each weekday after my Spanish class I eat a home-cooked and packed lunch (generally rice, beans, and ____) then travel on two busses for an hour to an hour and a half to my project. The location, a daycare called Rayito de Luz (Ray of Light) is nestled in Quebrada, a small mountain town. The children range from toddlers to 10 and 11 years old. They are amazing. Excitable and energetic as most kids are, they scream GRINGA every day as I walk up to the fence enclosing their building. (Although "Emeelee" is heard more often now that they remember my name).

I'm tempted to kidnap an adorable set of sisters whose inquisitiveness and attitude remind me of my childhood. Genesis is 6 and loves learing English and Emily is 4 with the personality of someone 5 times her age. Last week Emily and I counted the tiny ant holes in their yard all the way up to 38. Although she went over some more than once it was great exercise for us both in Spanish counting. Then yesterday I twisted her around and back on a swing for 20 minutes only hearing "Otro vez" and "por favor" between the giggles.

Not being able to have full conversations with them is great motivation for me to work on my Spanish but in the meantime I feel like we have a good understanding of each other: What qualifies as kind behavior & what's mean, which games to play inside & which outside, and the 2 letter difference in the word used to tell them "I'm tired" as opposed to "I'm married". There's no doubt I will miss them.

Mostly we play outside...swings, slides, y avionceta. Sometimes they need to be engaged a little more though. My second day I bought flowers and taught them to garden, having them repeat the colors of each in English as we went along. I ask them to repeat "green" several times as their "aweeeen" pronunciation is adorable. We also sing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (in English), and play Pato, Pato, Gonso (Duck, duck goose!)

Today the women who run the center made me a bread and jelly sandwich with warm horchata to eat with the kids during snack time. It was pouring rain so we stayed inside, which was difficult to keep under control, but it still managed to be one of my favorite days so far. They don't have many toys since they're prone to bring them home or throw them over the fence but my improvisation skills rose to the challenge and reminded of what little is actually needed to have a simple, fun time.


  1. Emily-

    I love this. I love that you're enjoying yourself. I'm so happy for you. These little girls sound adorable. As I was reading I felt like I was there experiencing it with you. You've got a way with words. Really love the "aweeen" comment, i bet they are precious.

    I can't wait to read more. Have fun and enjoy the time you have left there. Because there's no rush to get back to the misery that is the snowicane of ny

    love you and miss you dearly.

    -Katie p.

  2. Hi!

    I want to meet these little kids, they sound amazing. It sounds like an incredible experience, so glad you are there right now. Take lots of pictures and keep writing and "making memories."

    Playa Hermosa is where Scott and I were last year ... black sand beaches?!? Ahhhhh. If you have the time, hit up the Jungle Surf Cafe for breakfast (there's this incredible green sauce for your eggs which i'm sure you've experienced) or the Sand Piper Inn for dinner. All really cheap and delicious!

    Like Katie said, no rush to get back, although Spring is in the air today.

    Miss and love you lots!

    Katie S.