As far as projects in the grade school, everything has gone well with the recycling center and English classroom. In June 2011 the recycling committee had reached its funding goal to build a recycling center. Construction started in July. The construction was managed by a local constructor along with fathers and mothers of the grade schoool who donated their time and physical labor. The center consists of a cement floor, cement block walls and a metal roof. Since the opening of the center, the recycling committee has done various environmental education activities with the kids, promotion in the community and lots of work in the center. To-date the center has received over 100 bags of recyclable materials and will be scheduling the first pickup within the next week. I am excited for the results of all of the committee´s efforts and look forward to the future of the program.
The English classroom has also been a success thanks to the many generous donations received through CR-USA and PCPP. Construction of the classroom started in August 2011, managed by 2 construction workers in the community. To-date the classroom is nearly complete, only lacking ceramic for the floors, paint and windows. Construction should be complete within the following weeks. I am excited for the new opportunities that the classroom will bring to the children of the community and the English teacher. I cannot sufficiently thank all of the generous individuals who have donated their time and energy to this project. I believe that the project has been a success and look forward to seeing the kids in the classroom the next school year.
Another short-term project I did was a Junior Achievement program in the high school. The program lasted approximitely 5 months, in which the students learned how to plan and manage a small business through the creation of their own microenterprise. My group, AFE (Amigos Formando Empresas: Friends Making Businesses), decided to form a business that sold jewelry made from recyclable and ocean materials. Their product line was Recimar, a combonation of the words for recycle and ocean. Some of the tasks the group had to do were to sell actions, create and administer a market study, create a marketing plan, create and present a Pwerpoint presentation for a product launch, sell the product locally and in an event in San Jose, fill out administrative, production and financial forms, and pay dividends. The program was a lot of work but I was incredibly proud of the initiative, responsibility and hard work of my group. Some of the highlights were seeing them give a wonderful product launch presentation to over 100 people in San Jose and watching them sell their products in a mall in San Jose. Two thumbs up to AFE.
In the following months I hope to start a computer class for adults in my community. The high school has a computer lab and I am currently in the process of soliciting the use of the computer lab for evening classes. Fingers crossed.
I also now have a wonderful 5 months old german shepherd, Calla. I bought her from a family in my community when she was 1 1/2 months old. She has been such a wonderful companion and I am very grateful to have her. I am also officially the only person in town who walks their dog with a leash and one of the few people that teaches their dogs tricks. So I get lots of looks when I take her on daily walks and when she obeys commands given in English. She is also quite popular among the kids in town, possibly more popular than me these days. Sometimes when I walk her by the school all of the kids yell, "It´s Calla! Calla is coming!!" She loves the attention. She also obeys them when they give her commands in English, which they get a kick out of. They especially love "shake."
And as I mentioned above I also recently moved out of my house family´s house and am now renting my own small house in the community. I am enjoying the space, quiet and practicing new tico recipes in the kitchen.
So yes, that is a brief update of life in Comte. There is so much more I could say and so many things that have happened in these months and I regret not being a more faithful blogger. Hopefully I can give more steady updates from here on out. Love to friends and family in the United States!