First Impressions: Jeremy's Intorduction into ADE
It’s hard to believe that a very short time ago, on January 2nd, my plane landed in Costa Rica. There were many questions running through my head about the next four months of my life here at ADE. Will my limited Spanish render me incapable of being helpful? Will I get along with the ADE staff? Will my heart and attitude be in the right place to adjust well to a new culture? How will I be changed (mentally, physically, spiritually) after my time here? All of these questions and more rolled through my head on the flight down. Having left Canada with limited Spanish, little international experience, and not having met any ADE staff in person I was both excited and nervous! I am a naturally cautious person and the unknowns associated with joining ADE were intimidating to me. However, after conversations about ADE with Tomas (and others), prayer, thought, and listening to wisdom from those in my life, I believe that God has called me to this season in my life. It is with this conviction and trust that I came in spite of the unknowns.
Since I’ve arrived, the ADE family has welcomed me with open arms. Everyone has been very kind and gracious with helping me to get settled both with the physical things I need, the details of living in a new culture and most importantly with relationships that are life giving. My time here has consisted of getting to know my housemates (Sebastian and Carlos), ADE staff (Katie and Justin), and my host Family (Marcos, Teresa, Maria Rosa, Brittaney, Landron and Victor). We have also had weekly staff meetings that have allowed me to interact with Tomas and Chelsea over the phone. I look forward to seeing them soon face to face! I have also been getting to know the town layout, its people, and surrounding cloud rainforest countryside by walking often to work and meals, exploring, and getting started on EcoGuardianes.
The EcoGuardianes program is incredibly exciting for me to be apart of while I’m here! This program encourages community members to invest in caring for creation through environmental education, energy saving programs and citizen science monitoring. The vision behind these actions is motivated by Christian conviction to protect and restore the incredible biodiversity that exists in Costa Rica. This work is multifaceted and involves planning, advertising, presentations, attending meetings, community engagement, and scientific monitoring. My main focus is to support with establishing the scientific monitoring. That means that I will help design and collect data for studies on the Bio Corridor and Watershed. So far I have had the opportunity to start a camera trap study. This pilot study will give us an understanding of what animals are already using the proposed path of the Bio Corridor. Overall I have really enjoyed getting to know EcoGuardianes and what role I can play to develop it further!
In these short few weeks I have already been pushed to think deeply and differently about my faith. This is happening through explicitly Christain disciplines both collectively and individually. Some examples of this are bible study (especially 1 Corinthians 13), prayer and journaling. However I have also been forced to see a different perspective by living with new relationships, expectations and ways of doing life. One example is simplicity in regards to material things. There is no reason to throw away food, a tin roof still keeps the rain out, our mop head is a towel clamped onto a stick and the local soccer field has wooden goal posts. My needs are met but some things are less convenient or “nice” and I’m really appreciating that. Overall, I look forward to how God is going to use the relationships, work, serving, and learning I will grow into over the next four months for his kingdom purposes!