Sonia Smith, active volunteer and Collette Vacations employee, visited the Escuela Jaime Gutiérrez Braum school located in Tierras Morenas, Tilarán, Guanacaste in Costa Rica with her family recently and shares her story with us today:
The small village school has approximately 110 students from preschool through sixth grade with only 2 classrooms to hold all the students. The Collette Foundation is currently working to build a new structure to make room for more classrooms. During my visit, my family and I got a sneak peek at the early stages in the building process. I saw the area that will soon be classrooms where the wonderful children I met can thrive, learn and be inspired.
The current conditions make learning difficult, yet each child I met was so friendly and extremely sweet. They were always smiling, wanting to hold our hands; they loved taking pictures… especially looking at themselves on the camera afterwards. They showed us their classrooms, play areas and even some artwork they had created. These kids have so little and they are so proud of what they do have. They are happy. The experience was very humbling.
The most unforgettable moment for us was when we got to give the students some gifts we had brought with us from the States. We brought a variety of new school supplies for the kids to enjoy and help enhance their learning. They were so appreciative and just so excited.
We left the school feeling truly moved by our visit. On our trip, we learned that “Pura Vida” is a saying in Costa Rica that means “pure life” or sometimes “full of life”… the saying reflects an appreciation for really living. These children captured the Pura Vida spirit and really taught us what it was all about.