During my time at Maria Aux, I learnt a lot. It was the first project for kidsdeservemore and we had beautiful days and many other challenging ones. These challenges however are very good, especially at the begging, as they help us understand how we can help different communities and how different cultures work. And contrary to our belief, money is not the solution for helping others. It helps! But it isn’t the tool to get to where we want. Creativity, positive attitude, smiles, faith, and courage – that’s all we need.
Being convinced that people are kind and want to help had the biggest impact on this project – and I hardly spoke any Spanish – so communicating with everyone was pretty hard. BUT smiling never is .:) You’d be surprised of how far we can get with smiles, and I do use them a lot, especially for a good cause. 🙂
Without the support of friends and family abroad (you!) and the community around us, nothing would have changed. We had to be patient, look for the best ways to help while we are there, and ensure that whatever we do will be well maintained or used when we leave. It is not only the impact we do while we are there that is important; it is the impact we do on the kids lives and their community’s way of thinking, so as they keep helping and supporting each other when we leave.
The first step was watching what the kids were doing during the first week – their movements, their timing, their interaction with one another, their attitudes…Then came in the creativity and the search for the best ways to make their surroundings better.
It isn’t about buying toys, tvs or computers, nor is it about building prefab structures that need expensive maintenance post production and then get unused and destroyed with time. It is about understanding how the community works, their local methods of construction, their available resources and materials, and how we can together with them, do a positive and sustainable change. It is also about teaching them things they do not know – methods of construction in this specific case – so as once we are done with our project, they can continue working on making the community better for their kids. Which in our case they did!
We painted spaces with bright colors, fixed some of the furniture they had, covered up and built up dangerous areas where the kids were getting hurt, added walls and a roof, made the washroom usable, bought them lockers and stationary and of course a radio as they loooove to dance, and built up a proper sink area for the kids to clean up and drink water safely (they drink water from the tap there – it is so clean! I was surprised, but yes – when in Costa Rica, you may drink from the tap).
Everyone loved what we did, especially the kids. The danced around us while we worked (safely of course), painted with us, built with us, and cleaned with us. They learnt about kindness and help and community support and they taught me a bit of Spanish too 🙂
Posted are a few of the before and after pictures for you to all see the changes; they may be small, but they helped a lot.
A few weeks after I had left, I got a few messages from the community about their next project and the expansion of the areas to get more kids into the preschool. That made me realize, that when we go and help anywhere, we don’t only do the changes we do while there, we also motivate communities to work together to make their homes better places for their kids.
This is our goal, help us do it again 🙂 contact us on instagram by following and messaging us @kidsdesevemore
Spread smiles and kindness always. These kids need us 🙂