Monday, December 11, 2006

Animal abuse in Costa Rica is abundant, rampant, ugly and vial! You can't be a good person and poison animals. Our dear friend's dog was poisoned and they are heartbroken. They live an hour away from us in LaFlor Pariaso. Alison is a dog rescue person, a wonderful loving lady who helps her community, feeds the hungry, and runs clinics for animals and people. How dare someone poison her sweet dog. This horrible act is just wrong and criminal. Why are a small group of evil people allowed to violate the moral code of others? I am looking forward to justice, these folks need a trip to the reckoning kibbutz.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Transporting a container or vehicle is a tedious job. In trying to perfect this process I have learned a lot. Crowley lost a document necessary for the release of the vehicle. I need to present the original which traveled with the vehicle via Crowley, but Crowley lost the original which means I had to get another original. After a morning of where is it, and which shipment are we talking about, I spent the afternoon getting a new notorized original, borrowing a scanner to fax the original, and then sending the new original via FedEx to Limon for only $79.10 USD. Are you kidding me? Crowley screws up and I have to pay $79.10 for one skinny piece of paper? I don't think so, the wasted day was a freebie, but I want reimbursed for my dollars, deduct this charge from my bill before paying Crowley is what I directed Puerto Limon Agency to do. Thank you.

Lessons learned:

  • Get a receipt for each and every shipping document you give your shipper.
  • Scan every document into your computer, the laptop that you will carry with you, not your packed desk top.
  • Remember, the notorization is only about your signature, not the content of the document.
  • Sign in blue ink.
Bad things happen in beautiful places. Mauricio is one of our workers, who lost his leg in an industrial accident. Two nights ago robbers killed his dog with poisoned meat and then stole his quad-cycle, his only means of getting around, it was the families only transportation. Stealing an amputees only means of transportation is despicable enough, but killing the beloved dog is so wrong. Something in the core of your soul is missing when there is no regard for life.

What action will the police take? I won't speculate on that. This is a strong family, I expect they will not sit still for long. There are only 14 houses in this town, so who would do such a thing? Probably a good friend of a townie, perhaps it was even a conspiracy amongst little men. Only a pathetic little man would murder the family dog and steal the transportation of a physically challenged man who is trying to provide for his wife and child. I am disgusted and sad.

The petty theft that happens in Costa Rica undermines the effort of the hardworking good people. It seems that the police view common crime, theft and assaults as tolerable; as in, so what do you want me to do about it? As a foreigner I find the acceptance of assults and theft too commonplace, but hey, they are poor and you have stuff. As a Tico, who has struggled to get what little he has, I will guess that this family will be sad, then mad, and we may see some vengeance. News travels quickly from town to town, it has already been reported that at 1AM the quad was heard and we know what direction it was going. If insufficient information fails to produce results, I think a reward will bring information as there is no honor among thieves.

Mauricio has had a bad year. He and his wife lost a child, he lost his leg and his job, but he has great inner strength and a really good attitude. His positive attitude was one of the first things I noticed as I watched him exercise his stump while he lay on the sofa. He was determined to make the most of his future.

Everyone was moping around today. It is the death of Theo the dog that has brought all of the tears. Theo deserved so much more.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

To date I have shipped three different shipments from Port Everglades in Florida, to Puerto Limon. I made a fantastic decision to do buisness with Puerto Limon Agency, they have taken care of my business and given me star treatment on their end. If you are shipping a container, these folks are as good as it gets. My choice to do business with Crowley because they are in Fort Lauderdale has not been as satisfying. Three shipments with reservations, three times not put on their ship even with a reservation, therefore arriving a week after they should have. 3 for 3 is not a good score on Crowley's part. Why did I have to race against the clock to have the container picked up, when two weeks later it continues to sit in Port Everglades.

I just received a call from Mike at the Agency, shipment #2 just arrived. Bravo! Bravo! My husband's beloved truck made it. He really loves this truck, it is almost like he gave birth to it. It was his first new truck, his first diesel truck, he designed the custom bed, and it had something experimental about it, but I can not remember what. It is his baby. I believe it will be very handy for hauling stuff, or cows and goats. If it is ever going to get to the land we will need to build a bridge where their was one before it washed away.

Phil was going to our land this week on the public road and the well traveled bridge by the coffee mill had boards missing. He turned around and went back to the house. When bridges don't work in CR the busses simply stop at the bridge, the people exit and walk across to the bus on the other side and continue with their journey. We have crossed some bridges (with this bus scenerio) where we held our breath and prayed. We came to one and Phil was surprised that it was still in disrepair. Oh geez I don't want to drive across this again, he said. But we did, with great care. I always love it when the vehicle in front of you stops, someone gets out, moves the boards or steel plates around, blesses themselves, motions and directs the truck as it picks it's way across. Oh Lord Jesus please save us all I pray. It is a good thing Phil is driving, because I close my eyes. He would like to close his, but he can't. Never a dull moment in a developing nation.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My attorney and I met and he agreed to do the legal work for my 501c3 charitable foundation for the purpose for educating the poor rural children of Costa Rica.

John Stossel did a show on 20/20 this week, titled, Cheap in America. We have so much, blessed beyond belief. John says many American people are cheap when it comes to giving. Why is that? Is it true? Do you think it is true?

I think that many people want their money to be used for it's intended purpose, not for overhead. We also believe that is how to run a charity. We give of our time, energy and money. As volunteers we receive the reward of camaraderie, and the feeling of accomplishment, we have also found and honed personal strengths and traits that we did not know we had. How rewarding is that?

Phil and I were host parents sharing our home with young adults from all over the world. We were able to take 16 at a time. We had a dinner party every night, buffet style. It was a wonderful time, never a boring moment. Memories came flooding back while packing up as I found and read little notes that my kids left for me. I have not changed my email address for all of these years so that they could always find me. There lives are busy, finishing school at various universities around the world, or working at their professions. At least one (from Latvia) has married and lives in California now. Taka wanted to be a major leaguer. We still hear from some, and I wish I knew the fate of several others.

When you give a little, you get a lot. We learned that years ago with all of our kids. I worried about remembering their names, not only were they hard to pronounce, but there were 16 of them. The Saudi's were easy, they were all named either Hamid or Mohammid and they were always male. Women were not worthy and I will say no more on that subject today other than, we again learned the most.

I think I am a crafty person. When my children were small I always made them something personal for Christmas. Dolls, hand sculpted dolls, dolls with outfits that matched their outfit. I like handmade gifts, gifts from the heart, they mean more to me, and I hope to others. Gifts of food were also special and important. I have made thousands of cupcakes this far in my life.

A request has come in that we buy a pinata for the end of the year party. I will make one, I never have but, no problem. We need to have some classes in creativity. When you have creativity, you don't need money. Not much money anyway. I bought hard wrapped candies for the pinata. I think I should make two of them, one for the older children and one for the little ones. We hope to organize community participation for the decor. How many children will we have? Perhaps I will be the one who is surprised. What if they can not break the pinata open? I have never made one before, this is going to be exciting. As usual I will be the one who learns the most, I am sure. I will let you know.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Phil had a meeting today with two of our men, Marcos and his son Mauricio. Marcos, our #1 boss man, is on the School Board. Phil shared with him our end of the year celebration ideas. Marcos will dress up as Don Quixote and ride a horse to the school yard in costume. Phil will provide Felipe burgers at the party. Marcos understands that we want to participate but our participation requires that the village be involved in some capacity. He found our ideas to be very funny.

Our focus must respectfully stay on tract, education for the children. Our School Board member, Marcos, will go to San Jose this week to request a voucher from the government for each student. It seems that one uniform costs about $48.00 per child. A staggering amount of money considering the low earnings most receive if they have employment. If we can provide uniforms for free, perhaps we can spend that money for books. We will look into that potential option. How does a child go to school for a full year with only one uniform and one pencil? Where will his shoes come from? How will he or she stay warm? Mornings are cold in the mountains.

Would you consider sponsoring a child's education? Would you donate $150.00 per year so that the child could have books to go with their uniform? Would you provide pencils so that 3 poor children are not sharing one stub of a pencil? Will you buy a pair of shoes? Will you help me help a child? You can change the course of a valuable life by keeping a child in school. Email me to share your gift.

Maurico is a fine young man; married with a child. Last year Maurico lost his leg in an industrial accident. He is being fitted for his second prosthetic device. Both he and his father would like to get their drivers license. Phil is teaching Maurico to take care of details, negotiations, and to be responsible for the care and accounting of our tool supply as well as payroll. His duties will become more defined as the project moves forward. I have to believe that there are other prosthetic devices that would allow Maurico to have more mobility opportunities.

Education and continued education for the people will change lives. It is as simple as putting a little more food on the table, or being able to buy your child a pair of shoes for school. They just need a little help, not for them, but for their children. Will you help? I will provide uniforms, will each of you buy a pair of shoes or a navy blue uniform?

Monday, November 27, 2006

The second container left this morning. Crowley's drivers show up exactly on time. The driver was a very polite young Cuban man. He showed me his drivers license so that I would know he was not there to steal the load. That thought never crossed my mind. I did worry all night that the container would be broken into or stolen before morning. About 1AM I walked Jack the dog through our woods and over to the container just to make sure it was okay. All of my worldly possessions are packed in there; my collection of kitchen platters, and 18 matching dining room chairs. The chairs were not originally making the trip, but with the second container here, and my husband away, I took the liberty of packing the important things, like my dining room chairs. My hardworking man has his priorities and so do I.

I love dinner parties and find them to be very rewarding. Communal dinners with best friends and laughter is a wonderful way to spend the evening. I look forward to serving my three cheese stuffed hot peppers wrapped in bacon and broiled. Peppers from my garden and bacon from our coffee wood smoke house, this is going to be a very good year. Everything is better with bacon.

All of our twin beds made the trip this time. We will need them for all of the company we expect to visit us. The kids are coming for Christmas, we are excited to have them. This will be their first trip to Costa Rica. Now they will understand why we chose this special corner of the world to call home.

The middle of December is the end of the school year for Costa Rican children. We are going to participate in a celebration for the children. It will be our first of many. The children are the hope for the future. Perhaps when you come to visit you will bring the gift of children's books. We want to start a library so the children can travel to other lands beyond the dirt road. It is the only way many of them will ever travel. Books will change their lives, expand their horizons, and help dreams to come true.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Safety in Costa Rica, finding your piece of paradise…

Our observations are from our experiences over a two year period of time in Costa Rica. We think we are fairly street savvy. We lived in a rough developing neighborhood in the US for the last 26 years. We are alert to our environment and surroundings as a way of life. Both my husband and myself have been armed with hand guns for the last 30 years out of necessity. We are not naive. We have observed that in desperate poverty struck neighborhoods the possibility of crime is higher. This is not to say that poor equals being a criminal. It only takes one bad element and one moment in time to put you in danger. Criminals tend to work in teams of two or more. There are young men who are career criminals in San Jose and other areas. Their job is to relieve you of your cell phone, camera, lap top; any visible saleable items. The smaller the town, the less incidence of crime or of violent crime. Not so difference from the US in that respect. We evaluated each area and piece of land that we looked at by developing an evaluation form on what was important to us. Your needs may vary, but some criteria will be the same. Personal safety, clean water, where does it come from and how does it get there. What pollutants are above your water supply? What job opportunities do your potential neighbors have? For the sake of discussion and assuming most of your neighbors have limited means, how prosperous are they? You can be prosperous but poor. Are the children going to school, is there enough food on the table, what is the body language of the people? Are their heads held high and eyes clear? Where does their waste and garbage go. Where does the sewerage go? Does it drain onto the ground and then get washed into your water supply, down the river and then to the beaches? Probably, more likely than not that is exactly how it happens. We take many services for granted in the US. Take nothing for granted in Costa Rica. You must discover the answers for yourself. You may very well be responsible for all solutions necessary. We chose off the grid with no services so we had no expectations whatsoever. We insulated ourselves to some extent by purchasing a large parcel of land in order to avoid encroachment. We did not want to hear other peoples noise or smell their exhaust. The belching black unburned diesel fumes polluting the country are excessive. How can these vehicles pass the required test each year? Not possible, so who do they pay to get their sticker? How much chorizo does that cost? Why are polluting vehicles allowed? How can you be environmentally sensitive to nature while belching black smoke? Why give carbon credits for growing trees, while ignoring the practice of burning leaves and garbage in every corner of every town in the country? I have brought up issues that you should think about. Remember that Costa Rica is still a third world country, struggling to become a 1st world country. How will you contribute in the effort to find solutions with minimal negative impact? You can change your town, your town’s school, the children's educational opportunities. You can change the opportunities for their parents by sharing your knowledge with them. Knowledge, understanding and sharing will help bring about positive change.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The details of ordering the canoes that will accompany the container have been worked out. Now let’s hope that the delivery will be in time to go on the container before it departs

Nothing is ever cut and dry. Why is it taking so long to execute the plan? It is like trolling with barbed wire. The barbs keep snaging on to everything possible as we drag along. Fortunatly the canoes will go in the container last as they could be easily crushed. We are the packers so the responsibility is all on us. I have seen the damage done by professonal movers. It is a sin that others call themselves professonals. You do not need them to move, so save your money, and perhaps the life of your stuff. Hire the most reputable broker. We use the Puerto Limon Agency and would never consider anyone else. Our shipments are extreme, but successful with their help. Successful shipping is not just about what you know, but who you know. You are intrusting the contents of your life to total strangers. Do so with confidence, call Mike and Xinia Rose at Puerto Limon Agency. Tell them Ginnee and Phil sent you. The Puerto Limon Agency was recommended to us and we are happy to share with you that we chose them over all of the other recommendations. It was the best choice we could have made. Moving to another country is a huge decision, who will move you is an equally big decision.
Our terrain is that of a mountain, so I bought a Yamaha Rhino 4 x 4 to help me get to areas that may be off limits to me physically.

It is about the size of a VW beetle but taller with the roll bars. I hope to never roll it or I will probably fall off the mountain. I chose this vehicle above all others for several reasons. First, there is a dealer in Turrialba. How important might that be? It also has the highest ground clearance of all the utility vehicles that I reviewed. I gave serious consideration to a diesel vehicle but with no service center, and low ground clearance, I ruled the others out.

I decided to invest a bit more and have the dump bed treated and protected with a Rhino liner. This Rhino treatment is no relation to the Yamaha Rhino. It is a tough coating developed in South Africa. I think it will keep my fun and functional vehicle working hard for a long time to come in the rainforest.

Next week we pack up the second container and ship the truck. I look forward to this shipment going as smoothly as the previous.

I read an alarming article today from our friends at You should log on and read the article. I would post it but have not asked for permission, so go take a look for yourself. On January 14th 2007, all airlines and cruise lines will be required to submit the names of all passengers to Homeland Security prior to departure and to obtain permission from Homeland Security to board those passengers. What does this mean to American citizens? Perhaps you can cut and paste the link and read for yourself. Is this about keeping the terrorists out? We don’t seem to have control of any of our borders. So why does my government want to keep you and me in? Other than taking our freedom away bit by bit, what is this about? Hmmmmmm.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Getting the second container packed without my dear husband heading up that project is a challenge. I am purchasing equipment I know little or nothing about while hoping I select the right thing is a heavy responsibility. I can not exchange a mistake from another country. I have been very lucky to have met nice folks who have helped me make good choices.

We have a Ford two wheel drive tractor that has served us well for many years. We were not going to take it with us because we really need a 4 wheel drive tractor, but we own it, haven’t sold it, and there is enough room in the container to take it. Every day that goes by we need a tractor to move dirt, fix a road or move a load. Sure the labor is relatively cheap, but why wear it out. There is too much work to be done to hope that it will happen manana. Before you know it manana turns into quince dias and it never happens. In fact, when you hear the words “quince dias”, you are are not actually being told fifteen days, what they are really saying is, who knows, don't hold your breath, good luck.

My husbands found starving dog was confiscated from our hired men today by the animal’s former owner. Feeding your dog seems to be a foreign concept to many folks. Just two weeks ago this animal could not lift its head off the ground because her owner did not feed her and left her to die. Phil did not think she would live until the sun came up when he found her. Now that she has had a proper diet for two weeks, they claimed her, and took her. Perhaps we can buy her back. Pobrecita, poor little thing, hungry again tonight. I have a difficult time with many things; animal cruelty is high up on that list. Once again, it is a good thing no one can understand me.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My husband Phil spent the day beginning to unload the container and feathering our nest. It was a good day for him. Our neighbor came over and introduced himself and his family. I asked Phil if our neighbor was bilingual and Phil said no, but I am. I am so proud of Phil; he has worked studiously the last two years to get to this point. His Spanish vocabulary is excellent and he has become comfortable in his skin. My husband dreams out loud. For quite sometime he has been dreaming out loud in Spanish. That was a major turning point in his life, he flowed into Spanish while sleeping. I knew he had turned the corner of bilingualism, but he can never remember the dreams and did not know that he had arrived. It is never dull at our house. Remind me to tell you about the various invasions of Cuba; those were before he spoke Spanish.

We have a new member of the family, Pobrecita, (poor little thing). She is a young dog, a Heinz 57 variety with a beard and hound dog ears. She was starving to death, as so many Costa Rican dogs are. Just a skeleton with skin, too weak to lift her head, he thought she would die before the weekend was over. But a week later and with daily doses of food and love she is running around joyfully happy. Her new daddy is equally excited; tomorrow she gets a bath, a collar, and starts riding next to her dad in the pickup truck. It doesn’t get any better than that. Soon she will be joined by her big brother Jack, our rescued Rottweiler. Life is good.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

This morning I had a meeting with John Fisher at Christian Community Foundation of South Florida to learn more about how to set up my 501c3 and fund my mission to help the poor rural children and their families through education and a scholarship program. How do ordinary people like you and me direct our money to our choice of missions and reduce our capital gains tax? You can find answers at Are you selling a home or business? Would you like to have some of your money go to a charity of your choice rather than to the IRS? That is my objective. I see so much need in my new country, how can I make a difference? I can set up the 501c3 and ask you to help me. Like most Americans, we all have too much stuff. Talk to your friends and family; ask them to donate their sewing machines, laptops and children’s books so that our volunteers can teach with educational tools. You will change a family’s life forever while freeing up some space in your casa.

Don’t forget to explore the possibilities of how to redirect your tax dollars in advance. It is important to investigate, understand and take action before you get to the contract stage of your sale.

We have drop off collection points not far from the San Jose airport in Santa Ana and Escazu, friends helping friends, to facilitate our dream of making a difference in the lives of others less fortunate. Contact me for more information, If you are visiting Costa Rica please bring a suitcase of supplies for the poor rural children and consider coming to visit us for a real rural experience in what we believe is the most breathtakingly beautiful part of rural Costa Rica, Esperanza de Turrialba. It is difficult for us to bring items in because of the transportation cost factor. If you can help by packing some items in your luggage or carry on, you will make a difference. Let me thank you now, for your help.

Monday, October 23, 2006

October 23, 2006

Our container is ready to be picked up. Praise the Lord, now we can get on with the important work. Unless there is a ditch in the road that we do not know about, the tax, tag and tip is less than what we feared. I spent two years researching the shipping process and despite a few delays, it has gone rather smoothly. I don’t think we could have overcome the few problems we encountered. The only glitches were that the container failed to get on the ship (Crowley’s fault) and, the Port of Limon was on strike. Our broker Mike Rappaport has done a fine job so far. I will keep you posted.

We have been helping the poor rural school children at different schools for the last few years. Many never go past 6th grade because they have no way to get to the next level or their parents can not afford to send them. Some do not see the value of education. I have had children say that even if their parents could afford to send them, what difference it would make; there are no jobs for them anyway. Perhaps the seeds of hope are the most difficult to plant. But we shall plant them and nurture them with kindness and respect.

We still need supplies, donated laptops, with which to tutor children, story books and educational material as well as pencils, pens, notebooks and navy blue uniforms. It costs about $100.00 dollars a year to send a child to school and more than that after the 6th grade. If you would like to help in some way, please contact us at . We hope to inspire teachers to join us at our location to work with the children. We could use the talents of a shop teacher, home economics, English, and a Business 101 teacher. We are interested in hearing from interested candidates with an adventurous spirit wanting to make a difference in the lives of others.

We have been Community Service volunteers all of our adult lives. Phil and I were also host parents to foreign students and would host, house and feed as many as 16 students at a time. We have many fond memories of our “kids”. Our new country and our new neighborhood have many needs. Simply teaching a child to read will take them to lands they don’t know exist. There are no books in poor rural schools, none. When you can barely feed your family enough beans and rice, and the skeleton of a dog is on his own, who has money for books?

How can we (you and me) change lives? Education, real life skills, language skills and technical training will not only put more food on the table but change the destiny of families for generations to come. Ask me how you can help,

Saturday, October 21, 2006

October, 2006
Our container was shipped out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Crowley. We bought a 28' Great Dane container on wheels so that we could have a storage unit for our supplies and tools upon arrival. We have been packing the container and documenting our 220 some page manifest list for more than 6 months. The container had a reservation, but Crowley failed to put the container on the ship. It has now arrived, but it is still at the Port of Limon, not yet released. Port of Limon workers have been on strike, I sure hope that is over with.

Phil has been working at the farm (finca) with our caretaker family. We now have our first fish farm pond stocked with fish. He made a pool in the back of our pickup truck to transport the fish. Very clever.