Tag Archives: La Carpio

Centro Modelo and Volunteers’ Farewell

The volunteers’ farewell… All I can think of when I enter our Centro Modelo classroom is the classic children’s song ” Los pollitos dicen pio pio pio cuando tienen hambre cuando tienen frio.” The little chickies say peep peep peep when they are hungry when they are cold.

With their little yellow shirts they do look just like a flock of baby chick’s. They are in constant motion, interacting with each other, curious about everything and absorbing everything in their environment.

We have some good parenting going on too. All the kids are neatly dressed. Freshly bathed and combed. And each one has their own little set of plate, cup and fork and spoon.

Here, they are celebrating the farewell party for our two volunteers, Ali and Quincy. I was so happy to see the delicious and enticing fruit feast prepared by the parents. Each child got to choose the fruits they wanted and amazingly not one plate was empty after snack time.

I felt these kid’s hunger to learn and to creatively seek activities. Their tenderness was so moving. Teacher Marisol is giving these children a wonderful transition from home to the beginnings of school life. We will really miss the kind assistance of the two volunteers. And I’m pretty sure they will miss CRHF too.

Success Stories from the Field #7 – The Saga of Yader

Some of you might remember Yader who came to us in 2018. Fleeing out the back door as the army burst into the front door looking for him. He has been a loyal, kind and conscientious workplace companion.

Last month, after a three month vetting process he legally entered into the US and wound up in Dallas. He was picked up in Dallas airport and dropped off at a studio apartment with an air mattress and some food.

And there he sat . No one came to see him. He ran out of food…he called us…our donor Howard got him some food via Uber(go figure). We began to investigate and suspected a scam. Things got really weird when he got an eviction notice.

So I sent out the word via Facebook and along came Claudia who was part of our peace group in October. She happens to live in Houston and was heading to Dallas the very next day to watch the eclipse.

She happens to speak fluent spanish because she happens to be of Mexican descent. She located Yader and got him all straightened out and then they watched the eclipse together.

He now has had his rent paid, gotten his healthcare card, permission to work and some cash . It seems that his caseworker had slipped up. Anyhow…it helps to have friend in High Places. As we say here ‘Gracias a Dios.’ His America dream is being realized.

Success Stories from the Field #6 – Eyes are the Windows to the World

Content warning – this post discusses suicidal feelings.’

Today, I was walking down the street and this gentleman calls out to me. ” Giselle, do you remember me?” I said” Your eyes”.

He gleefully answered…” six years ago your volunteer group of eye doctors found that I had cataracts. You took me to a clinic and I got treated and was able to see again.

Eye care specialist provide eyeglasses

What no one know at the time was that I was planning on taking my life by hanging myself. You saved my life”. Of course I got a little teary and pulled on the necklace I was wearing . (It had belonged to my mother). The string broke and tiny blue beads flew all over the street.

This man who once had been nearly blind and contemplated suicide, bent over and picked up ever single bead…even those that I couldn’t see because they were so teeny. He said” the hand of God is so with you. He is showing you this truth as I am able to see, find and pick up these little beads of your Mother.”

Indeed I saved his life…and…he taught me something I needed to know.

Yader Goes to Dallas

This is a very bittersweet day because it’s Yaders farewell, he’s on his way to Estados Unidos, to Dallas, TX. He’s gotten really good orientation from the International Organization for Migrants, from the UNHCR, and from the local government officials. He’s got all his documents in order.

It’s really hard because he’s really happy here, but he also knows that this is a unique opportunity, and he knows that he’s up for it and ready for it.

We gave him our best advice, you’re strong , you’re kind, you’re honest, you’re a good worker, you’re gonna find something really nice to do so that you can live in a fine place. And you’re gonna come back in your car and wave to all of us.

And then I proceeded to show him how to use the bathroom in an airport in an in an airplane since he doesn’t yet read, he can’t read the instructions.

So, we had quite the time just talking about how to take care of that issue. And then we also pantomime about take off your shoes, your belt, your things in your pocket, put it in the bin.

That’s as much as we can do. And all of us mothers were a little bit teary eyed because we remembered when we dropped our kids off the bus, the airport, the college, the wherever, the camp, it’s hard to leave your kids, it’s hard to see your kids go. And the love will never change.

Happy Birthday to Alan

32 years old and still with us in spite of meeting death two years ago by falling out of a third story construction site. He literally fought for life and limb. He did lose part of his right leg…but saved his life.

We celebrated with a family lunch at KFC at a venue on the third floor. He sat by the window. Here is his wife, her 4 year old daughter and two sons and Alan’s son. Boy those kids can eat! We got a super mega bucket. They scarfed down everything but the very bones.

Zuly says she tells the kids..let’s go out to eat… so she cooks up some rice and beans and they put a blanket on the floor of their little balcony..and they are out to eat!

We pull up into the parking lot in my car and all tumble out…the old lady, the one legged man, the woman with an unusual face, the tiny girl, the very tall boy and the very thin boy. Just like a circus clown car.

After we eat we go to the outdoor park down below and play hide and seek. I won every time because I’m sneaky and always get to the home free tree first.

Success Stories From The Field #2 – Yader Goes North

He did it! Our collaborator Yader is a participant in the Biden administrations program. This program was created to pave the way for the political and economic refugees to enter legally into the United States.

This program included extensive phone and in person interviews, orientation sessions, Q & A activities, review by both UNHCR and US embassy personnel and…the all important diploma…his first ever.

I pray that America will treat this fine man with the respect he deserves. I kind of compare this to my entry into Costa Rica with the Peace Corps in 1977. It is a life changer.

He will be called to board the plane any day now.

ps the picture in the background was done by Danny, one of the street kids more than 20 years ago. It shows a hand pointing toward the full moon.

Success Stories From The Field – The Electric Saw Accident

One and a half years ago he was using a round electric saw and it somehow got out of control. He cut his foot and hand and was bleeding profusely. His family was in a panic…the clinic was a 30 minute walk away. No one they knew had a car. And suddenly there were dozens of little kids swarming around me. And my car. “Por favor.” “Please please take him to ….the clinic.”

So we drove up there and I hardly got there before he was fainting and losing a lot of blood. From the clinic he was given an ambulance and off he went.

I didn’t see him after that..until yesterday. And there he was with two hands and two feet. What was the first thing he said to me? ” I’m so sorry I got your car all full of blood”. Imagine that. I just said..”the blood got cleaned up. I’m just glad to see you alive. ” And he looked at me and said, ” without those minutes you gave me I would not be here.” We looked at each other and in my head I heard Bob Marley singing…is this love is this love is this love is this love..and so it is.

Please consider donating to our emergency relief funds so we can continue to provide assistance in emergency situations.

New Year 2024 Day 1 Celebration and Birthdays

What an amazing way to start the New Year! Volunteers Vicki Schwarz and her friends sponsored a fantastic New Year party in order to celebrate her and Dans birthdays and to teach children about healthy eating…

Doña Antonia came through with a delicious tomatoes-only spaghetti sauce with spiral noodles. the 50 kids got a glass of milk to drink along with it. The desert was a fresh fruit cup with some ice cream and a home baked cookie.

We had fun singing together and Adolfo gave his life story to the kids. He emphasized belief in yourself, never give up and accept help when needed. An extra bonus was Alcider also had his birthday.

Each child was given a lovingly wrapped present of a notebook crayons or colored pencil or clay. Three children got a special gift that was raffled off. Our Automercado food program supplied a yummy chocolate cake. As the kids left they all got a hug from all the volunteers and then we sat down to eat together. Because we were starving.

A few tears of joy were shed. What a loving way to spend a birthday and a beginning of a new year. Thanks to our amazing team who set up the room, gathered the children and made sure everything went smoothly. Thanks so much to the volunteers and their coordinator Vicki for their wonderful new year 2024 first day.

ps. this was a party created with love and higher consciousness to celebrate birth and new beginnings. And it was fun and stress free. Everyone had a part to play and we all got along great. Mutual respect and true caring. No power plays on this day.
True gratitude.

2023 CRHF Christmas Party – An Unforgettable Day

Some days are just meant to be unforgettable. Our donor Gary has given us a generous Christmas party for many years . But this time his assistant had an incredibly plucky idea…Let’s just take everyone to Parque de Diversiones – the national amusement park .

So.. with great trepidation and a pinch of hope we potted our scheme. The ever patient Katya who is our assistant began to make the list. And wound up checking it much more than twice. Our faithful teachers vetted every single person. And the meticulous Natasha took care of all the details having to do with the Park, payments and protocols.

Somehow – with help From above, we pulled it off. Nearly six hundred children and parents…who live near this financially unaccessible national amusement park, who pass by it on their way to and from anywhere, were able to enjoy a day of pure excitement and joy. They walked and rode and ate to their heart’s content. And, we didn’t lose anyone and no one got hurt.

Reuniting in Plaza de la Democracia: Liberation, Family and Unexpected Celebrations

The day of the commemoration liberation from the army we were standing in the Democracy Plaza. Waiting. Someone said…look, there is the president and they are filming him. Of course we had to go and cureosiar. Sure enough. There was a film crew filming a president…But it was an actor look alike of President Figueres…doing a reenactment of the speech had dismantling the army.

BUT we were there for another mission. We were waiting for volunteer Julie, who had arrived just a week ago, to meet for the first time since she was nine months old, her very alive mother. It “only” took a few days to find Julie’s long lost family and there we were.  Waiting. Suddenly, we saw them mother, brother, sister and two delightful nephews walking toward us. Then there were hugs as they found each other again. Tears flowed and there was a kind of peace in the air. A relief and a calm.

Then we gathered ourselves to walk across the street to a local restaurant that had been tipped off about this life changing event. The Calypso band asked ” what song shall we play?’ and all we could think of was “happy birthday to you”. So there it was…and the whole restaurants broke into applause. A great meal, profound conversation and wonderful little drawings by the two little kids as a gift for “tia”. And all this transpired right there in the Democracy Plaza. Where years ago an army leader took a sledge hammer to a fortress wall forever changing the destiny of all Costa Rican children. Even the adopted ones.It was a good day.