Our Session A volunteers in Pérez Zeledón officially departed from Costa Rica on July 9th after the whirlwind weekend that was despedida and debriefing. Upon returning from our weeklong campamentos in national parks throughout Costa Rica, our volunteers were greeted by their host families for a festive despedida (goodbye party). It was a time for our volunteers to say goodbye and thank you to their families for opening up their homes and investing their time to the project. I was so proud of our volunteers and host families that shared their parting thoughts on why AMIGOS is so special to them.
One of my favorite memories from the despedida was when one of my volunteers, Victor, received a t-shirt with a photo of himself and host family. His family decided to surprise him and it was so sweet to see the thought and care they put into his parting gift. His six-year-old host sister, Jennedy, was especially sad to see Victor go as she loved parading him around community and introducing him as ‘mi hermano.’
Myself, along with the rest of the team, could not be prouder of our volunteers for all the hard work they have completed over the last month. I have seen them grow so much, from improving their Spanish, to gaining leadership skills, to making lasting friendships with their Tico counterparts. Although we will quickly welcome our Session B volunteers to country, we will deeply miss our Session A volunteers and know that they will be missed by their communities as well!
Emily Churchill, Senior Project Supervisor, Perez Zeledon