Volunteering in Costa Rica - My best memories
When I was about 11, I used to visit my grandmother at a nursing home nearby. It's a very vivid memory for me, and one that isn't entirely pleasant. By design, a nursing home is the kind of place that no matter how well equipped, is overflowing with stories, both happy and sad. The kind of place where some residents have a seemingly endless reserve of memories, while others can barely recall the names and faces of loved ones. And it's the kind of place where visitors can be infrequent and there's always need for an extra pair of hands.
So when I was asked to select my top two volunteer assignments for my Cross-Cultural Solutions program in Cartago, Costa Rica, I thought about it for quite a while, and decided that this was my moment to try again, and get out of my comfort zone (just a bit). I told Danielle, my Program Specialist, that I really wanted to work with the elderly.
What I found when I arrived at my volunteer assignment was something entirely different from what I had expected. After I got over the initial shock and feeling of overwhelm (which, by the way, should pretty much be expected no matter where you choose to volunteer -- you're meeting new people, exploring a new culture, and discovering new sides of yourself all at the same time!), I found a facility with a character and a community that I quickly fell in love with. Of course, there were a few residents who had long since lost their mobility, memory, and even a few who could no longer communicate. But after just one day, I discovered joy just about everywhere I looked.
Here are just a few of the photos from my time volunteering with the elderly in Costa Rica. And though they may appear basic, these are without a doubt, some of my best memories from the experience: