Meeting the Parents Association was our first chance to understand how excited community members are about the work volunteers are taking on to build a new school and help tackle the Sustainable Development Goals. While the construction of the school is still running, we thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about the community and share our passion for learning with an engagement day.
We organised a series of language activities so we could exchange our mother tongues and learn more about each other’s cultures. The children of the community were shy at first but soon opened up to us when we played a counting game, introduced to us by Sylverio, a member of the community. We even had a chance to learn the local language, Cabecar. Though we found it difficult to communicate with the community at first, we soon learned that we have much more in common with them than we thought we did.
In our second session, we practiced colour names as well as sharing why we are excited for the new school. This was a lot of fun, and reminded us of why we are volunteering in the first place. Indigenous communities are one of the most marginalised groups of people in Costa Rica, and by sharing the opportunity of education; we hope to help eradicate this. Lastly, we played a mix of Charades and Pictionary. This allowed us to find common ground, as our funny impersonations of different animals began to break down the boundaries that we faced moments before. Some of the children and community members joined in and we ended the sessions with a lot of laughter which helped us to come even closer together.
Our action research committee also had a chance to ask the community if they could help with a map of Dörbata that we have been trying to put together to see where the development needs are. A lack of social cohesion was one of the issues the Parents Association raised and we hope that the map will give them more of an understanding of where their houses are in relation to one another so they can have more of a chance to meet as a community. Following this, we participated in a game of football with the locals. One thing that the Dörbatans don’t lack is enthusiasm. This was an eye opening experience for all of the volunteers involved and we hope that it had the same effect on the youth of Dörbata. Looking forward, we are hoping to do another awareness day so that we can strengthen our friendships with the people of Dörbata even more. As we work to complete the school, we hope that they can now take the next step on the ladder to education which will set them up for life.
Story by the volunteer team in Dörbata. Edited by Karen Flynn