Jacob's one-year experience with ADE

Making chocolate from scratch

Hi, my name is Jacob and I came down to work with ADE the beginning of July 2013.  I first met the Dozier family when I was about 6 or 7 years old back when we both lived in California.  Since then, my family and I moved to Minnesota and the Doziers ended up here in Costa Rica.  Facing much uncertainty in my academic, spiritual, and emotional plans, I felt the need to leave school and re-examine myself.  During this time, I got back into contact with Tomas (who I hadn’t talked to or heard from since I was a toddler in California), and we began dialogue about what he’s doing through ADE and why he moved down here.  Tomas knew that I was looking for and opportunity to travel and learn about service, so we began discussing possibilities of me coming to Vara Blanca and doing an internship with ADE.  Finally, after several months of talking and planning, I booked a flight and made it down here.

During the beginning of my time here, I was helping out in the ADE high school with a computers/English conversation class.  I was also giving beginner English classes along with two other interns at the local chamber of tourism.  But for the past several months my time has been devoted mainly to work on ADE’s organic farm, cultivating blackberries, fruits and veggies, and biogas from cow and pig manure. Tending the farm is hard at times but also brings me much joy. At times I struggle to find the drive to give it my all, but grow each time I find the motivation within to persevere. I’m astounded every day by people’s strength and work ethic. Teaching English (or at least trying!) gave me a great respect for the hard work and struggle of teachers! Every day I’m seeing how much I take for granted.

Getting to know the Dozier family has been wonderful.  They each have very different personalities that mesh well together, and have made me feel at home.  My housemate and ADE staff, Miguel, has taken great care of me.  I have learned a lot from each of them.  I left Minnesota a non-believer who was unsure whether or not he’d ever return to school. I am very grateful to have come to be surrounded by academic and spiritually/scripturally based company, as they have helped me grow to value education, while growing in my faith. They’ve taught me about farm work, leadership, Costa Rican culture, humility, self-sustainability, education, family, and following God.  

I’ll be heading back to the States very soon, and can’t believe I’ve been here nearly a year.  I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned during my time here and will miss Vara Blanca very much. I’ll miss Miguel, the Doziers, and all my friends that I’ve made here.  I’ll miss the slow pace of life, the quiet sounds of nature, and the fresh air and water here up in the mountains. I’ll especially miss the delicious food I’ve had here. Hopefully I’ll be able to recreate some of it back home. Most of all I thank God for giving me this opportunity to learn and grow, and build positive relationships.

As much as I’ll miss life here, I also miss my family and friends back home and am ready to enter into this new chapter of my life. I’m looking forward to implementing what I’ve learned here in Costa Rica into my life back in Minnesota. I’m also looking forward to staying in contact with everyone from ADE. Si dios quiere we’ll meet again in the future!


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