Our international partners accomplish amazing things with volunteers. Read their stories.
Volunteer assistance is critical to enabling our international partners to create change in their communities. Many of them have shared the work they were able to accomplish with the help of international volunteers. Read their stories below.
Día del Niño: In the Wake of the Quake print story
September 25, 2012
Abriendo Mentes, Costa Rica
By Trevor Cobb, AM’s Community Coordinator
To understand what the fabled Día del Niño was all about in Potrero, one had only pay notice. The story of the weekend was written on the faces of the children — dribbles of ice cream and ketchup mixed with giddy smiles; colorful flowers, spiders, hearts, and butterflies painted on cheeks and foreheads. Clues also rang out in elated screams, and through the cheers that accompanied well-oiled dance routines. In the words of one boy who tugged at Lindsay’s arm after the festivities had come to an end: “this was the best party ever!”
It was certainly a great day to be a kid. Upon walking into the salon, the tendency was to freeze solid. Colorful balloons and streamers lined rows of wooden tables. Can toss, bingo, and pin the tail on the burro were only a few of the stops along the road. Content parents sat back and watched as their children frolicked about, excited to show off their winnings.
On the whole, it’s been a tumultuous couple of weeks here on the Guanacaste coast, and indeed in all of Costa Rica. On Wednesday, September 5th, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 struck the Nicoya Peninsula, sending shock waves throughout the country. Fortunately, injuries and large-scale infrastructural damages were minimal for a quake of that size. Our positive thoughts here at Abriendo Mentes go out to all those families who were affected, and we can only hope that the worst has passed.
Natural disasters have a tendency to rally communities, and to bring people closer together. Something in the unbridled power of the natural world reminds us to be grateful of every waking day. For the children of Potrero, Sunday’s Día del Niño celebrations offered a much-needed release from it all. For two hours they were asked only to be kids. Their sole obligations were to eat, to dance, to laugh, to throw balls at cans and beanbags into baskets. As the name suggests, Día del Niño was all about the children. In the wake of an earthquake that rattled the region, a fitting remedy was to forget the worry, to forget the fear, and, even if just for a couple of hours, to smile as if you were a kid, and it was your day.