Costa Rica March 2012: Turn off, tune in, help build
While shooting the breeze with another Global Village team member in the the terminal before departing, we agreed that we couldn't wait to turn our phones off when the plane left the gate and we would have no other choice. Apparently, FAA regulations are about what it takes these days, at least for us, but I doubt we're the only ones.
Disconnecting seems to be getting trickier; there is always some way for me to justify leaving my phone on, or rushing to Google something when I could probably just ask someone.
One thing I always look forward to when preparing for a GV trip is the opportunity - albeit via physical removal! - to detach from a routine and, in a sense, be someone else for 9 days. This sounds dramatic, I'm sure, but I do think that when we put ourselves in a different country, surrounded by different people, and with responsibilities that differ from what we're used to, we are bound to really focus on who we are, and what we value most.
This week, the lens through which we'll gain perspective will be the experience we have in the small Costa Rican town of Santa Elena, located just south of the border with Nicaragua. We can't wait to get there. Our goals are to support families who have been selected for houses by Habitat Costa Rica, and to embrace a spirit of cultural exchange and understanding. Hopefully, as we dig utility trenches and shovel out footings, we can unearth some clues as to how to make the gained perspective more enduring, and how to share it with those people back home whom we've already begun to miss.
We've been wondering about the histories of the families we'll work alongside, about the accent and nuances of the language that will be new to all of us, and about what the texture of this community will be like. We will have to pay close attention while we're there -- we won't be able to Google these things on our phones once the flight attendants give us permission back on the tarmac in Minneapolis.
--Noah Keller, Global Village Team Leader