Although certainly homesick, I am really loving a lot of things about this country and it’s culture. One of those things is the sllooowweer lifestyle. Yes, we are busy almost all day everyday in orientation, but the whole town and country has a more relaxed vibe about it. Sometimes it’s annoying and not as efficient, but it also makes me feel less crazy/anxious/stressed out on a daily basis.
As much as I am here to absorb a lot of this wonderful country, I am also here to educate them about my culture. Another volunteer brought this up during orientation, and it wasn’t something I’d even thought about before, but who am I to impose this different language/lifestyle on them? Maybe they are happy speaking only Spanish and working in the coffee fields and living in their small towns and eating the fresh food that is available here in their homes every evening rather than going out to fancy restaurants. To promote a faster paced lifestyle more dependent on financial status and career advancement seems almost backwards here. Succeed in the tourism career and make more money so you can work more (like me) and see your family, friends and loved ones less (like me) and buy more and more things that you don’t need (like me). More money, more problems right?
But the truth of it is, they WANT us here and they want to learn English. And we are not here to impose anything, but rather to set an example of something different. It does make me a little nervous to think that this gorgeous green country could some day be taken over by large resorts and wealthy tourists who care more about money than the land and the people (everyone saw Avatar, right?) But we are not here for that, we are merely volunteers here to provide education which if anything is more of a tool for them to use as they wish. If they want to go into the tourism industry, or need to to support their families, we are helping with that.
Knowledge is a very powerful thing, and for a small country with no military it can be their greatest asset and protection against being taken advantage of.