Santa Cruz, Costa Rica, is a small community five hours south of San Jose, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, the hub of the indigenous Costa Rican population and the epicenter of Del Monte’s Costa Rican pineapple enterprise. Through a genuine partnership with Jenna Balkus, a Peace Corps Volunteer from Northern Virginia, Don Miguel, chief engineer at Pindecco (Del Monte), and a group of 13 sorority women from The College of William and Mary, we completed a basketball/soccer court for the community of Santa Cruz.
The children of Santa Cruz have few opportunities. Many of the mothers are single parents. Abuse and violence are common problems, especially to women. One of the very recognized values of sports is on young women who face violence and abuse. When girls grow up playing sports, they can develop a sense of power and control over their own bodies, which is essential to stop the cycle of violence. We are excited for the impact this court will have for many years.
Our team from William and Mary might have worked harder than any other Courts for Kids team. Countless hours of wheelbarrowing, mixer loading, shoveling and carrying cement bags left everyone exhausted. But all the hard work paid off when they saw that last square of concrete being poured, knowing that their work in Santa Cruz would last for years and years!
What I learned was about myself; my ideas on ‘human nature’ shift. Going abroad puts your life into a different context, and the contrasts the unusual make from the everyday give new perspective.
Coming on this trip I was really nervous. I didn’t really know what to expect, and a few times I almost backed out. But for some reason, I wouldn’t, and now I know why. Yeah, I could’ve just donated money, but you never realize how much it means to do the work yourself. It may be a small difference and it may be hard work, bruised legs, heat rashes and sore muscles, but it’s the sense of accomplishment that you did it, especially when you didn’t know you could, is what makes this trip humbling and something I would never forget. In just 7 short days, we’ve done so much.