Over the summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and volunteer. I travelled with Rustic Pathways on their “Heart of the Jungle” program for two weeks around the area of Osa Peninsula. During the two weeks I was there, I participated in various community service projects; there was no main project, unfortunately. However, some of the volunteer work I did involved painting bathrooms at an elementary school, making and installing a cement floor for a family’s house, gardening at an elderly home, painting fences, cleaning up community playgrounds, and collecting garbage from the beaches surrounding the Pacific Ocean. Besides volunteering, we also ventured through villages and kayaked around small islands. Overall the trip was a good experience since I had never been to Costa Rica before, and not only did I enjoy what Costa Rica had to offer, but I also gave back to the community too.
Throughout my trip there were many highlights, but in particular one of my favorite parts of the trip was when my group and I cleaned up the community playgrounds. It was my decision to go on a trip where community service was involved, I could’ve chosen to go on a trip that involved no volunteer work, but I didn’t want that. What made my trip so meaningful and special to me was the volunteer work my group accomplished and completed there. When we were cleaning the community playgrounds, I felt a certain kind of gratitude and fulfillment because I still see myself as a kid and I know that kids are influenced by the tiniest influences. So, removing garbage such as an opened condom wrapper or cigarette butts made me feel better because I knew that the kids playing on these playgrounds wouldn’t have to see such images at a young age. Besides the volunteer work I did in Costa Rica, I also do panels and have participated in a documentary, “The Big Picture:Rethinking Dyslexia.” As a dyslexic I don’t want to be held back because of people who don’t understand my learning difference, so I spread the word around to other dyslexics so that they won’t let their school hold themselves back too. My life speaks through my actions, and so far my life has been pretty great.