2010 Costa Rica Tee support given to special needs school affected by the 2009 EarthquakeCosta Rica Whitewater 2010 Design

Costa Rica Whitewater 2010 Design by Marlo Wright Paintings

Looking around a crowd of boaters at riverside, it is never a surprise to see quite the collection of Endless River Adventures’ theme shirts: Costa Rica and Ecuador. The designs might vary but the theme does not: each year we ask our guests to donate for their special collector’s item tshirt.  The design is unique to the year. And only for Costa Rica participants.  Many of our friends have a whole drawer full of shirts for each of the trips they have joined in on; shirts that carry a whole trip’s worth of memories of good people, rivers, food, and fun.  With the donations received we seek to continue our theme of community involvement.

It is never our place to “tell” others what to do with their natural resources. But by trying to be good ambassadors to the country we are visiting, our hope is that the local communities come to understand the economic value of their rivers.  For a number of years we have focused on children as they are the hope of the future for protecting natural resources. We come as kayakers, share time with the schools when possible, and support them with supplies, english lessons, or just the experience of “the gringos coming to school.”
Our beloved driver Miguel has a daughter who many of us have watched grow up over the years.  Lucre is now a special needs teacher.  And through Lucre we learned of a special needs school who definitely could use our support.   Located in the region most severely affected by the 2009 earthquake that devastated roads, bridges and the Sarapiqui River, this school was already in need–and the earthquake just hurt it more.
Our friend Mary was willing to be an embassary this year and check out the school  as she herself is a special needs teacher in Georgia.
Mary visiting the special needs school

Mary visiting the special needs school

Mary’s Report Back:

“The school is fairly close to La Paz.  It was quite an eye opening experience for me. They literally have nothing.  Pablo said his college(which is the same one I am getting my doctorate from)  has given them some books in English. I talked to the director(Maribel Casal)  and she said they have nothing, no materials. computers, few books.  The only thing I saw were some scissors, crayons,  and they had painted cereal boxes to use to make things with. No one spoke English but Pablo and not sure about his,   but I  am pretty sure I got what the director said.  Most of the school was damaged during the quake.  Luciecia’s room was a mess.  The only thing I couldn’t understand was I think Luciecia was talking about either her moving or the school moving next year. Couldn’t quite get what was being said there and you might want to ask Pablo.  The director really wants some white boards for some of the rooms as well.  The sad thing about that is when we get smart boards up in our classrooms they just install them over the existing whiteboards which then become useless.  I couldn’t get her to pin down or maybe I didn’t understand what the greatest need was.  I think they have so little they just couldn’t figure out where to begin.

Schools that do with so little

Schools that do with so little

Pablo said there are a lot of kids from Guatemala there as well and are very poor.
The kids were very cute.  The funny thing with kids is when they realize your Spanish isn’t so hot, they slow down immediately without yelling.  I noticed that in Ecuador as well.  They asked me questions and wanted me to say things in English and were just adorable.    I could have stayed there all day.
The school teaches 50 kids.  They couldn’t believe there were 800 in my school. I kept thinking I was saying it wrong because they kept making me repeat it.   Most of the kids weren’t there since the school term has ended for the year.  Some were still taking finals.
So much more laid back than our schools. They actually leave kids alone and they still do their work.  As little as they had the kids were happy.  When Sra. Casal came in the kids just flocked her with hugs and kisses.  They were all smiling and the ones taking their finals I could tell were trying hard.  I looked at one of the 5th grade tests and it was about 8 pages long front and back with Spanish Grammar and reading questions and didn’t look easy to me. I think from the description of the special ed kids it might be Autism, but not sure.”
With Miguel and Lucre’s help, and the support of our 2010 Costa Rica Kayaking Participants, we can bring more than just hope to the school with donations that will help continue the country’s commitment to educating every child in Costa Rica.
Pura Vida to all our 2010 friends!!