See the video showed at the ADE Colegio open house:
April 22, 2010
April 21, 2010
Let me give you a little overview of the past few months and then in the next few posts I'll go into more detail.
- Moving into and becoming a greater part of the local community: We have staff members involved in some of the local councils. We attend the local activities and really have been getting to know both the community as a whole and building relationships with individuals.
- Fixing up the ADE Center: We were donated a house to use by some of our neighbors. There was a lot to fix up, but it's come a long way. We host our school there, groups and even some of our staff has been living there. (Before and after pictures to come).
- Starting the first secondary school in the region: On February 10th, we started the ADE Colegio (ADE Educational Institute). We have 9 local students, almost all of whom would not be going to school if it weren't for this opportunity.
- Hosting a group of college students for spring break: We had a small group of college students from various universities join us for their spring break to both learn and serve in this incredible environment. They worked closely with our students and had many new and unique experiences, while serving the people here.
- Building partnerships both nationally and internationally: Through many meetings and visits, we've connected with many different groups that will benefit both sides of the partnership. These include - the Biology Department at the University of Costa Rica, the Ministry of Education in Costa Rica, the International Development Masters at Eastern University, high school and college Spanish teachers in the United States, and many more.
- Teaching English to kids and adults in this community: Every Tuesday and Thursday night from 5pm to 7pm, some of our female staff teach kids and adults English. This has been a great way to offer a unique service to people here that is a recognized need from the community.
- Having interns serve with ADE: Interns have come to offer their time and expertise in various ways, including working on fixing up the center, teaching English, writing up stories on ADE, and putting together plans for future projects.
- Conducting the local census: In partner with the local development association, we have conducted and begun to work with the census of the area. This has helped already through seeing the needs of the community and will help in the creation of a disaster prevention plan for the whole region.
Written by Jason Weispokf
San Rafael de Vara Blanca is a rural community approximately 30 kilometers north of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. The community is located between three volcanoes: Poas, Barva, and Congo, at an elevation of approximately 6000ft. Temperatures generally range from 50-75ºF and do not change significantly throughout the year.
The local economy is largely comprised of agriculture, although due to its proximity to San Jose, the cool climate, and the area’s rich ecological resources, tourism contributes a small portion to the economies of San Rafael and its neighbors.
The village of San Rafael de Vara Blanca was decimated by the Cinchona Earthquake, a 6.4 (Richter scale) earthquake on January 8th, 2009. All basic infrastructure was destroyed, including the public elementary school, the medical clinic, the community meeting hall, the church, and about 15 homes. Due to limited available government funding, there are no current plans to rebuild any of these structures nor does the community have enough funds to begin redevelopment efforts on its own. Most notably, the livelihoods of those who have chosen to remain have been deeply affected by the destruction, causing severe economic and personal hardships.