The first few days I worked in the garden and helped paint the kids hands on a wall by the playground.

Our first night here, Maria Elena, our madre, took us to karaoke where we were made to humiliate ourselves with a terrible rendition of the beatles, although we managed to laugh all the way through.

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I Music has since been a staple in our lives in Costa Rica. The radio in our house is turned on the minute after breakfast and turned off just before bed. Madre is always dancing and singing around the house – making the atmosphere always welcoming. My first day of work was at the Hogarcito, although I was unfortunately unable to stay there because they had taken two other volunteers from a different organization.

Erin Gantz

So, the next day I was placed in a pre-school, CAI. The first few days I worked in the garden and helped paint the kids hands on a wall by the playground. The next week, it seemed the school ran out of things for me to do, and I colored pictures for a couple days. Finally, I was put in one classroom to help the Ninas. Here I helped with different activities and I have gotten to know the kids and the teacher well. I have also been teaching English at night. My first class is and intermediate class and consists of mostly university students.

My second class is a beginner class that has students from high school and adults. Both of my classes are very rewarding. We work hard together but still find plenty of time to laugh.

Through their hard work I have noticed a great improvement in their English over the past weeks.

One of my favorite travel weekends was to La Fortuna. My roommate, Heather and I, were able to go canyoneering in which we hiked through canyons and repelled down waterfalls. Also, we were able to see the volcano erupt at night and watch the lava come down the side.

Over the past month, I have traveled to some of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica, remembered what it was like to dance like a 5 years old, and had more fun in a class than ever before.

Although my time here was short and didn’t go exactly as I planned, it was still an unforgettable, life changing experience.

By Erin Gantz

At the end of my program, I left this report for uVolunteer. I hope it helps future volunteers have a good understanding of the uVolunteer program. I've also allowed uVolunteer to give out my email address to those interested in asking me questions about my trip and the uVolunteer program.

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