Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Final Reflections: Henry S.

We are now on the airplane coming back from a week in Chilamate, Costa Rica. I think I speak for everyone when I say that this past week has been one of the most influential and enjoyable weeks of my life. While we were there, we laughed, talked (in two languages), worked, sang, and even cried. But most of all, we learned. We learned about Costa Rica. We learned Spanish. We learned about the world. We learned about what needs to change. We learned about culture. The culture is so different in rural Costa Rica. People wake up at 5:00am and go to bed at 9:00pm. Beans and rice are eaten at every meal. Cows are milked on a daily basis. Doors and windows are left open and unlocked. The culture of the small rural town of Chilamate in Costa Rica is so different, and we learned that not everything is the same as bustling, busy, and urban Brooklyn, NY. We also learned about what communities over the world are lacking. Day to day, everyone had all that they needed. But there aren't the resources for bigger more expensive projects. For example, computers and teachers and school space were an issue. Also, the community bridge was in a bad state, but there was no money for repairs. These issues are the ones that organizations like the WLS are trying to solve.

We also learned about each other and ourselves. We learned that we have put limits on ourselves, saying "I can't do this" or "I am bad at that." And we learned that when we step out of our comfort zones, when we break our limits, we grow and bond and live. Some people conquered their fear of heights on the zipline, while others confronted a fear or bugs every day. People also learned how they work in a group. Some realized that they are problem solvers, helping their friends through homesickness and drama on the trip. Others learned that they are real leaders, and can unify and organize the group. Others still realized that they are active followers, who, as we learned during the trip, are just as important as the leaders themselves.
On the airplane coming home, I look back on my time in Costa Rica with extreme happiness. I did really fun things, and am so glad that I had this opportunity. But, more importantly, I will take so much away from this experience. The friendship and understanding that I have is too valuable to quantify. So, thank you. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. And thank you to everyone who shared this experience with me.
- Henry