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. ginnee@gmail.com

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? ginnee@gmail.com

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 http://www.limonagency.com 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 http://atv.off-road.com/atv/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=257279 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. http://www.rhinolinings.com/RL/main/ 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 http://www.welovecostarica.com/ 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? http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?position=all&page=40035&dbname=2006_register 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.