A last minute change brought our team to Rio Claro, Costa Rica in the southwest corner of the country, 30 Kms from Panama and 20 Kms from Golfito. Rio Claro lies on the Inter-American Highway and is home to about 6,000 people whose present and future is strongly tied to rapidly growing international trade.
We are the 9th Habitat house in town and local interest, support and participation is extremely positive for the reduction of inadequete housing. Although Costa Rica attracts a lot of international teams of volunteers, 39 this year in nine different towns, we are only the second team to visit Rio Claro. (Guatemala will receive over 50 teams this year.) Due to the heat, 95+ and 95% humidity, and travel time, it seems to be under served. Fortunately, it offers a visit to a true Costa Rican town.
The recipient family is a single mother (Johanna) of three (Jordi, Nicole, Jordan) who live in a single room tin shack with a dirt floor, oddly with a washing machine, microwave and refrigerator - be careful of the hingeless door! They are an incredibly nice family and Johanna is a great cook, which she does on an open fire. Their health, cleanliness and kindness are striking.
Our international team of 18 from the USA, Canada and Ireland began with a vacant lot using manual labor and human powered tools, except for the cement mixer and saw for rebar and block. We completed about 3/4 of the 3 bedroom / one bath cement block house. The septic system is the envy of the neighborhood. The local participants should finish by the end of the month. I can't explain why, but it was a fun trip!
Thanks for your support and come along next time!