My birthday was a few weeks ago, and my wonderful mother worked very hard to make sure that it was known. (Thanks, mom!) From my experiences, birthdays in La Virgen don’t seem to be much of a cause for fuss, but for most of us in the United States, they are important - especially one’s 21st.
In the days and weeks leading up to my birthday, cards continued to roll in, as did several donations from friends and family. Some folks had wanted to give me a gift for my birthday, but instead, my mom suggested making a monetary donation, which I could then use to purchase something needed by my host family.
My host family of 5 only has two chairs at a counter in their home at which to eat. Initially, I had wanted to buy them a real dining room table and a set of chairs, but in reality, there isn’t a place to safely put those things and I think my family is happily accustomed to how they conduct their mealtimes.
A few weeks later, I found out that my host family is planning to open a restaurant (‘soda’ in Costa Rica) by the end of this year. My host family already owns a small store (‘pulpería’ in Costa Rica), but they wish to expand it in order to increase their income and give their children better educational opportunities. I felt that this was the perfect destination for my funds.
This morning, I told my host mom that I had $200, which thanks to my wonderful friends and family, I am able to contribute to this small enterprise. I have never seen such a look of gratitude and relief. She is very excited about the soda, but I know that a business venture such as this for a poor family is a dangerous decision, and could lead to financial ruin.
I would like to continue raising money for this family that has been so kind and welcoming to me, patient as I learn to speak their language, and eager to ensure that I am comfortable and taken care of. If anyone would like to make a donation, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will post in the near future what I was able to purchase for their soda with the donations.
my host family and I at my surprise birthday party