Thursday, May 19, 2011

Always Remain Flexible!

Today started with another incredible breakfast of bacon, eggs, and coffee here in Costa Rica. We were a couple minutes late leaving for Canitas, but soon got underway with sunny skies ahead and great hopes that we would arrive and see a truck filled with tile sitting there waiting for us so we could begin the community center tiling project. We had no such luck so me, CK, and Roberto cleared out the drainage ditches up near the health office and lumber yards, while Cathy, and "Captain Kirk" put the finishing touches on the bare floors for the tile.

They joined us soon after our lightning coffee break to rake up the grass in the front yard of the health office, while me, CK, and Roberto explored the area a little and took some pictures. Lunch was bomb, we had steak and more beans. I love beans! About ten minutes before lunch was over the rain came and washed our morning work down the drain, literally.

Hanging out with Don Nicco's family was a humbling experience, seeing them so happy, just in each other's company, made me want to toss away all my televisions as soon as I get home.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Training While Serving

While NFL Star Devone Bess and Manager Chris Kidawski are locked out of their offices at the Miami Dolphins, they're serving with Global Volunteers in Costa Rica. In between weekend orientation sessions, they took a couple hours to train on the hills of Monteverde in the Cloud Forest.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Butterfly Walks"

Our beloved Hu Di, former China Country Manager, has graduated from American University. She posted this summary of the honor of carrying the American flag at commencement. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reflections from Italy after Week I

Greetings from the Spring, 2011 team in Cisternino, Italy. We are just ending the first week of teaching in the Liceo in Cisternino and each one of us feels very satisfied with how the week progressed, tired and satisfied. Many of the students we’ve been able to work with are gearing up to take a particular grade level of either the Trinity, Cambridge or PET English exam at the end of May. Those students are very motivated, attentive and well-behaved.

We have also tutored other students who are not going to take one of those exams; their mastery of English varies greatly. However, regardless of their facility with English, they are getting practice in speaking English, introducing themselves, listening to a native speaker, and responding to questions. They are also very well-behaved.

In the main, each of us is working with no more than 5-6 students at one time, but it does vary depending upon the requests/needs of the school.

As a bonus (for us!) some of the Italian teachers are also working on their English with us during the afternoons. Some plan to take one of the exams as they prepare for a new Italian regulation which goes into effect in 5 years. At that point in time they will be required to teach their respective subject area in English for at least an hour a day. It is such a pleasure and privilege to work directly with the teachers. The conversation is intellectually quite stimulating. To sit and discuss Atonement by Ian McEwan with an Italian teacher…what a great experience.

And… this is FUN. Personally, this is my first time on a Global Volunteers trip. I had no idea I would receive such wonderful TLC from a team leader who magically gets things done, makes meal modifications, arranges transportation and nurtures our spirits. Participating on the team, meeting new people from different parts of the states all adds to the fun.

I am particularly enjoying being a participant in a small town in Italy and not just a tourist. And here’s what everyone could guess…the food is fabulous as well!

Shared by Italy Volunteer Nancy C.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

A valued and resourceful volunteer, Esther Schak, shared with us this creative tip for “paying it forward” each year. She enthusiastically shares it here with you:

“Dear fellow volunteers: I was curious about the true value of my Global Volunteers tax deduction, so I prepared my individual taxes this year both with the Global Volunteers charitable deduction and without. I realized that deducting the program fee, airfare, travel insurance and visa would net me almost $1,500 more than without that deduction! I always heard about the value of the tax deduction, but I really didn’t think seriously about it until I analyzed it this way myself. I’m looking forward to using the refund for my next service program this year. It’s like recycled money! I’m off to China again in a few weeks. Can’t wait!"
- Esther Schak

Will you consider how you might invest your tax return this year into a Global Volunteers service program like Esther does and “pay your good fortune forward” with us? Thanks for your consideration!