Tag Archives: San Jose

#EdWed – Education Wednesday and Dia del Trabajador in Costa Rica

#EdWed. This week we are highlighting Costa Rican Labor Day via the teaching in our Family Well-Being Centers. We are very grateful for the group of collaborators, volunteers and teachers who have joined us over the years to serve the populations we work with. Feliz Dia del Trabajador!

Montessori education is renowned for its unique approach to nurturing children’s holistic development. At the heart of this approach are the four primary goals that Montessori teachers strive to achieve:

Fostering Independence

Montessori teachers aim to cultivate independence in their students by providing an environment that encourages self-directed learning and exploration. Through carefully designed materials and activities, children are empowered to make choices, solve problems, and take ownership of their learning journey.

Promoting Self-Discipline

Central to Montessori philosophy is the belief that self-discipline emerges naturally when children are engaged in purposeful activities that align with their interests and developmental needs. Montessori teachers guide students in developing inner discipline by setting clear boundaries, modeling respectful behavior, and encouraging self-regulation.

Cultivating a Love for Learning

Montessori classrooms are vibrant spaces where curiosity is celebrated, and a passion for learning is ignited. Teachers inspire a lifelong love of learning by fostering an environment of joy, wonder, and discovery. They encourage exploration, experimentation, and inquiry, nurturing children’s innate desire to understand the world around them.

Nurturing Social Responsibility

Montessori education places a strong emphasis on the development of social skills and empathy. Teachers guide students in building meaningful connections with their peers and the larger community, fostering values of kindness, cooperation, and respect for diversity. Through collaborative projects, group activities, and opportunities for reflection, Montessori teachers help children develop a sense of social responsibility and global citizenship.

By prioritizing these four goals, Montessori teachers create enriching learning experiences that not only prepare children academically but also equip them with the essential skills and qualities needed to thrive in an ever-changing world.

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.

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 – 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.

Family Volunteer Stories – Community Service and Vacations

El Tope Nacional

Yesterday our volunteer family of six..four kids and mom and dad…needed an activity. We found out it was the day of the “Tope de San Jose 2023” or the San Jose 2023 Horse Parade. And as a bonus, the starting was just two blocks away from their Peace Center Hostel. So we walked over there. It was amazing to be so near to all the horse energy

The animals were astoundingly beautiful and majestic. The relation between the horses and their riders was like something out of mythology. A perfect balance of strength. The women riders were calm and composed and definitely in charge of their horses. We saw ponies and horses who were so large you would need a ladder to get on them. And the tails and manes and feet of the horses were braided and intertwined with brightly colored satin ribbons.

There were over 2000 horses and riders. A virtual invasion of San Jose. Full of fierce and controlled strength. But.. cheerful and peaceful, as Costa Ricans should be.

But..don’t mess with them…As our national anthem says..if somebody tries to detain our glory, you will see our people rise up to protect our honor. These horses would make a formidable foe.

As an added bonus right on the corner where the horses walked by, we found a little restaurant called Cahuita. This is the name of the Caribbean village where the family will be staying for a few nights. So we sat in their window eating patti, patacones with guacamole, fried yucca, cheese squares and drinking frog water and lemonade while listening to Bob Marley sing ” Is this love is this love is this love”

Lost Fossils

And then…since I noticed that these folks were quite adventurous we took off to visit fossil land. This is a place I’ve been to years ago…where there is a crystal cave and fossils of ancient shellfish. 

We arrived at the place and were greeted by four very sweet and friendly “guard” dogs. And  no human to be found. It was eerily and deliciously intriguing, and a bit scary at the same time. 

We walked on rock roads and abandoned paths and  buildings. We discovered a  building where lye was produced, an abandoned soccer court, a decrepit water slide, remnants of a zip line, leaf  cutter ants, antlions, a sparkling clear stream filled with little  butterflies to wade in and..oh yes..fossils galore. 

Dad is a geologist and rock star..so he was in his element  explaining all the history of the rocks and fossils. This experience was like a return to childhood before cellphones and computers got in the way. We took delight in all the unexpected treasures we found. 

On the drive out we did find a guy who told us that they had stopped operations because of covid and the owner just passed away three months ago. What a hidden gem this place is. 

We then rode down the hill and dropped the family off at the bullfighting arena. 

What’s Next

Tomorrow we are off to the Cabecar indigenous reserve, port city Limon, Caribbean village Cahuita and jungle adventure Tortuguero. I think this family is having the vacation of a lifetime.


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.

Building Peace: Costa Rica’s Approach To National Security Without An Army

How does a country with no army protect itself from invasion? From a neighboring country, from drugs traffickers. From gangs. From gun violence. From any other disturbing situation?

Our president AND his advisors have cooked up a plan. First and foremost. Strengthen the education system. Second reinforce pride in the country through unified celebration of national holidays. A small gesture..renovate the school uniform rules. And then, introduce the word sovereignty to the national vocabulary.

A firm unified and led concept. Like when mom and dad sit the wayward child down for a talk. Clear rules and expectations. Coupled with ,”we know you can do it”. Attention and praise for small improvement and consistent steady encouragement.

Then…hire 300 more well trained police and publish videos of them together at an induction ceremony. Not to threaten or be aggressive but to REMIND. We are here. Standing firm. Tighten up consequences for small infractions like speeding or running a traffic sign. Align the judicial system, with the police system, with an attitude of restorative justice. Use the press to keep communication open.

And I’ll tell you what we don’t do. We don’t all walk around carrying guns. We don’t lose our daily courtesy. We don’t forget to greet each other no matter what soccer team you are rooting for. And when we discover a bully or a grooming or a cyber danger our government and ngo system step in to educate and support the situation.

Costa Rica is still far from the country it dreams of becoming but it certainly is way beyond the hatred and it’s consequences found in other sadly suffering parts of the world. We are blessed because we have strong and wise leadership. And we know our children will not have to go to war. We believe in ourselves.

A Legacy of Peace on the Day of Abolition

In the heart of Central America lies Costa Rica, a nation known not only for its breathtaking landscapes but also for its commitment to peace and humanitarian efforts. One significant milestone in Costa Rica’s history is the abolition of its military on December 1, 1948. On the occasion of this historic day, let’s delve into the remarkable work of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation, an organization that has played a pivotal role in maintaining the country’s dedication to peace.

Peace

Founded on the principles of non-violence, the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation’s Peace mission is concomitant with the countries decision to abolish the military. With the belief that resources traditionally allocated to the military could be better utilized for the well-being of the population, the foundation set out to create a society focused on education, healthcare, and social welfare.

Education

One of the key pillars of the foundation’s work is education. By investing in schools and promoting access to quality education, they aim to empower the youth, providing them with the tools to shape a prosperous and peaceful future. Scholarships, vocational training programs, and community outreach initiatives have become cornerstones of the foundation’s education-focused endeavors.

Healthcare

Healthcare is another critical aspect of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation’s mission. Through the establishment of medical clinics and outreach programs, the organization ensures that healthcare services are accessible to all citizens. This commitment to the well-being of the population reflects Costa Rica’s belief that a healthy nation is a strong nation.

Social Welfare

The foundation’s involvement in social welfare extends to addressing poverty and inequality. By supporting community development projects, providing housing assistance, and fostering entrepreneurship, the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation strives to create an inclusive society where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.

As we celebrate the day when Costa Rica made the bold decision to abolish its military, it’s essential to recognize the ongoing efforts of organizations like the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation. Their dedication to building a nation founded on the principles of peace, equality, and social justice is a testament to the enduring spirit of Costa Rica. Through education, healthcare, and social welfare initiatives, the foundation continues to shape a brighter future for the people of this remarkable country.

Empowering Communities Through Partnerships: The Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation’s Work Against Hunger

A Lifeline from Surplus: The Automercado Partnership
In the relentless work against poverty, the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation has forged a crucial alliance with the Automercado supermarket chain. This section explores the daily routine of collecting surplus products and transforming them into basic food baskets for the community.

Nourishing Lives: Basic Food Baskets for Diverse Communities
Delving deeper into the impact of the Automercado partnership, this section highlights how the foundation’s outreach program reaches various segments of the community, providing nutritious food to the elderly, single mothers, disabled individuals, unemployed men, and refugees.

Small Business, Big Impact: Food Sustainable Livelihoods
Explore how the earnings generated from the modest sums paid by community members for the food baskets contribute to a sustainable small business enterprise. Learn how more than 50 individuals are supported, creating a positive economic cycle within the community.

Beyond Relief: A Holistic Approach to Poverty
This section emphasizes that the foundation’s efforts go beyond traditional humanitarian aid by promoting healthy eating habits. It introduces the educational sessions on making nutritious juices from rescued raw foods and the impact of these sessions on creating a healthier community.

Community Empowerment: Fostering Solidarity and Awareness
Highlight the foundation’s unique role in fostering a sense of community and solidarity through its programs. Explore how the hands-on educational approach empowers individuals to make better food choices and take responsibility for their well-being.

Sowing Seeds of Well-Being: Long-Term Impact
In conclusion, this section reflects on the lasting impact of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation’s collaborative efforts. It emphasizes the foundation as a beacon of hope and showcases how sustained community engagement and empowerment can create enduring solutions to combat poverty.

Empowering Communities: Gail Nystrom and the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation

In the realm of humanitarian work, certain individuals shine as beacons of inspiration, dedicating their lives to uplifting communities and creating positive change. One such luminary is Gail Nystrom, whose impactful contributions through the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation have left an indelible mark on the lives of many.

The Genesis of a Visionary

Gail Nystrom’s journey into humanitarian work began with a profound realization – the power of community-driven initiatives to transform lives. In the late 1970s with the Peace Corps, she found herself in Costa Rica, where she witnessed the challenges faced by vulnerable populations. Undeterred by the enormity of the task, in 1997 Nystrom founded the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation, driven by a vision of creating sustainable solutions to alleviate poverty and improve living conditions.

Focused Initiatives for Lasting Impact

The foundation under Nystrom’s leadership has been instrumental in implementing a diverse range of initiatives aimed at addressing the root causes of poverty. From education and healthcare to housing and microenterprise development, each program is designed to empower individuals and communities, fostering a sense of self-reliance.

One standout project is the foundation’s commitment to education. Recognizing the transformative power of knowledge, Nystrom and her team have tirelessly worked to provide educational opportunities to those who might otherwise be left behind. Scholarships, health programs, school construction projects, food security and vocational training programs have become cornerstones of the foundation’s efforts, opening doors for countless individuals to build better futures for themselves and their families.

A Ripple Effect of Positive Change

Gail Nystrom’s holistic approach to humanitarian work has created a ripple effect, impacting not only the individuals directly served by the foundation but also the wider community. By fostering an environment of collaboration and inclusivity, the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation has become a catalyst for positive change, inspiring others to join the cause and contribute to the collective well-being.

Challenges and Triumphs

No journey of humanitarian work is without its challenges, and Nystrom’s path has been no exception. Economic uncertainties, logistical hurdles, and the ever-evolving landscape of social issues have tested the resilience of the foundation. However, it is precisely in overcoming these challenges that the true strength of Nystrom’s commitment and the foundation’s impact are revealed.

Triumphs, whether large or small, paint a vibrant picture of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation’s success. Improved healthcare access, food sustainability, thriving local businesses, and empowered individuals breaking the cycle of poverty are testaments to the unwavering dedication of Nystrom and her team.

A Legacy of Compassion

As Gail Nystrom continues to lead the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation, her legacy is one of compassion, resilience, and positive change. The foundation stands as a beacon of hope, demonstrating that sustainable solutions and community-driven initiatives can create lasting impacts on the lives of those in need.

In a world often beset by challenges, Gail Nystrom’s story and the work of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation serve as a testament to the profound difference one person can make. By empowering communities, fostering education, and addressing the root causes of poverty, Nystrom has not only changed lives but has set in motion a wave of transformation that will resonate for generations to come.