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Donde estoy? - My start in the one-year voluntary service in Costa Rica

On March 23rd of 2017, I started my adventure Costa Rica. After a long flight with Stop-overs in Frankfurt and Santo Domingo we finally landed in San José, Costa Rica in the morning. On the last flight I had a whole row of seats for myself, which made it possible for me to take a nap.

Before the jurney I joined a three day preparation seminar where we got provided with further information about the culture of Costa Rica. Afterwards we travelled further from the capital San José to Turrialba. Turrialba is a small town in the middle of the jungle of Costa Rica,

surrounded by mountains at the foot of a still active volcano, where we could admire the "smoke spit" every morning. Of course we were not here for fun, we had to improve our spanish skills. We had two weeks of intense spanish course were announced and no sightseeing. In order to strengthen the learning effect, we were living in different host families, who could only speak Spanish (so no English and even no German). Patrick and I stayed with Norma and Guilliermo, a very nice older couple. As our knowledge of Spanish was rather poor, the first dialogues between us were somehow tough. As a result, there have been a lot of funny misunderstandings and I cannot remember ever having laughed at so many jokes that I have not even understood at all. Well, Norma and Guilliermo definitely meant it very well with us and we were spoiled a lot for two weeks. There was a lot to eat and with a lot, I mean more than you can imagine. Most of

the time we had to fight with our (first) dessert, as the next dessert was prepared in the kitchen. The fact that there was a lot to eat in our family was recognized also from the girls of our VISIONEERS troop and I had to hear some jokes at the expense of my (very healthy) figure. Not only the food showed its effect, but also the Spanish lessons, so that the dialogues with our family won on quality over time. Well, our conversations were still a bit bumpy, but we could already laugh about jokes, which we had partly almost understood. They two weeks in Turrialba went by super fast with a lot of new impressions and we had to say goodbye to Norma and Guilliermo. So Patrick and I decided to cook some German dish for the two, and so there was schnitzel with potato salad (of course, followed by several desserts that Norma had prepared). With extra kilos under the t-shirt and a lot of excitement in the luggage, I went back to San José, where I should meet my host family for my remaining time in Costa Rica... On Monday, April 10, I was picked up at the bus terminal in San José by my host family, the Monteros. The Montero-Gang is really super nice and really funny, so we already laughed a lot on the way to my new home. The area I live in is very quiet, but its only a ten minutes bus ride to the city and in five minutes to the La Sabana Parque, which is considered to be the lung of San Josés and also the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica Is close. My guest father Enrique told me that just right now is Semana Santa (Easter) so everybody is in vacation.

So I had a lot of free time and had to start working the following Monday, which gave me the opportunity to explore San José a little. Since the Monteros also had the entire Semana Santa free, they had planned a Campingtrip north of San José. The invitation to accompany her, I gladly accepted, because I had from a very good understanding with the family from the first meeting and of course I wanted to get to know them better. My host family has a kind campsite with a cooking place and a small house with shower and WC near San Carlos. There I also got to know the boyfriend of my host-sister Nicol and other members of the Montero family. In addition swimming in a nearby river, the hot springs of La Fortuna were on the agenda. After four days I went back to San José, where I took time to prepare for my first day of work.

After three days of preparation seminar, two weeks of Spanish course and a week Semana Santa, I finally went to Habitat for Humanity. In my first week I was supposed to get to know everything and everyone. Habitat for Humanity is a globally operating organization that is committed to enable poor people to live in a real home. I work in the office in San José, which is responsible for the project coordination of the entire region of Latin America and the Caribbean. Therefore, my team is very international and I work with people from Peru, Mexico and Colombia. I am assigned to the Team Disaster Risk Reduction and Response (short: DRRR). The DRRR team is primarily responsible for minimizing the risk of disasters and providing assistance in the event of disasters. It ensures that our measures are carried out in an environmentally way and sustainable manner. At the moment, we are trying to find new approaches for the climate change. In the next few weeks, I will be busy conducting research and looking for interest groups or organizations that share our views and objectives and which we can work with in the future on climate change. So, everything is very exciting! That was it from me in Costa Rica. More news will follow in the coming months. If you liked my report and you are interested in supporting me in my work with Habitat for Humanity, you can do so under this link;)

¡Muchos Saludos!


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