Report #2 Timo Kliche

photo by barney

A big “Pura Vida” from San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica.
More than a whole month passed by since the last report and a lot of stuff has happened. It´s just fair enough to deliver you an update and report how the volunteers are doing, how the project progresses and tell you about our actual plans.

At first we want to bid farewell to Christian and Luise. Both are already back in Germany and I hope they will acclimate fast and without any problems.
To leave San Isidro after all that time, energy, work and emotions wasn´t easy for sure. Again a big praise for them and to everybody who was involved building the skate park, you created an incredible project and started something with big potential.
Good luck finding your daily German routine again. We will see each other in Germany and until then we look after the project.

Let´s talk about the proceedings. Our first English- classes came to an end and they were a great success. Because of the big demand we had to separate the participants in three groups, the school system in Costa Rica is build- on two blocks. Some of the kids are visiting school from the morning hours until midday, the others from midday to the afternoon. To give every kid the chance to participate, we introduced two beginner classes which started at different times of the day (morning and afternoon). For the more advanced we created an Evening- class, because some of the participants were already adolescents or adults and employed. In the evening class we focused on translations of poems or songs and trying to speak the language as fluently as possible, but with the beginners class we had to start from scratch. Although the kids learned English in school, the level was alarmingly low. In addition we found out that some of the kids couldn’t read or write, these kids obviously needed intensive support during the classes. Because of the small groups of kids, we had no problem giving them the assistance they need.

Despite all obstacles the kids adapted to the subject matter really well, and also we had a lot of fun during the last three weeks. It was my first time as a teacher and I learned a lot about preparation, accomplishment and post- processing.

Because the classes were such a success, we already started on the next set of classes. Also worth mentioning is, that “non- Skaters” were attentive as well about our offering and we have much larger attendance now.

We are planning a new collaboration with another local social project in San Isidro. The “Circo Fantazztico” is a circus pedagogy project, which grew successfully within the last years and stayed alive because of the help of young German volunteers. At the moment over ten volunteers are working for the project and are very interested in helping and supporting the skate project. As planned we will introduce a German class and an alphabetization class. We will deliver more details and information when the classes are about to start.

In addition of that another volunteer Jack Fitzgibbon offers an art class right now. Jack is a citizen of the United States, a friend of Christian and was originally intending only to have a look at the skate park and the project. Because the kids, Jack, Barney and I shared a big interest in an art- class we decided to create a concept. The art- class takes place twice a week for four weeks in total. Part of the class was to accomplish a big drawing of a compass, which now beautifies the flat in the skate park. To get an idea have a look at the pictures.

Not only are the class rooms busy, other aspects of the project are coming along quite well. To preserve the skateboards we filled up the puddles of water with gravel and the bamboo fence for the hip is almost finished as well. Our goal is to finish the fence until the “Manual- Skateboards” Contest on the 08.12.2012 takes place in the park. “Manual” is a Spanish Skate- and Surf brand that got established pretty well in Costa Rica. Possibly because of the perfect circumstances for surfing in Costa Rica. Before Christian left we were able to upgrade the park a little bit and to build another grind box. Of course we involved the locals and chic@s and it was very good seeing that some of the Ticos (Costa Ricans) knew a lot about DIY- Construction. Another basic idea of the project is the participation of the locals and motivates them to build their own ramps and being proactive. Especially during these days I got the feeling that we made a big step of achieving that goal.

photo by Christian Petzold photo by Christian Petzold

The kids and the older skaters are really motivated to collect points, they are asking daily about their accounts and what we are working on next. Many Chic@s earned already enough points to trade these for boards, wheels or trucks. Sadly we have not received the parcel yet with all the skate stuff but staying in contact with “Skate- Aid” in Germany, we know that the collect- campaigns were very successful. I dearly hope that we receive the parcel before Christmas.

Another great idea that only waits for the organization and implementation is a Surf- and Skate camp. By coincidence I met Evan, a local Surfer from Dominical, who knew already about the project and Christian. He asked me if he could bring some kids from Dominical to San Isidro and offer them a little alternation and to awaken the interest for Skateboarding in them. Because of that I got the idea of a little exchange, a Skate camp in San Isidro and a Surf camp in Dominical. A perfect opportunity to link the kids, explain the acquisition between Surf- and Skate culture and allow them an experience far away from the daily grind.

Unfortunately not all of our news is pleasant. During a weekend trip by bus a couple of weeks ago, Barney’s bag got cheekily stolen. Including a camera, computer, passport and wallet, everything is gone. Jackpot for the thief! The one who suffers is Barney of course, but the project as well. Barney had a big crush on his camera and the computer contained important personal data. But this robbery meant a big set- back for the medial output as well. If that wasn´t enough, I got sick twice within two weeks. During that time the atmosphere was pretty much frustrating and depressing. But since Barney received the money for the insurance of the goods he was able to buy off the camera of Christian and I´m feeling healthy like never before (thanks to Barneys nurse performing).

Regrettably we had to use the punishments already when somebody contravenes against the park laws. Because of attempted theft we expelled some kids for a week. We want to award as few punishments as possible and instead try to support the kids appropriately and antagonize their deficits and bad behavior. In this case we decided to start a movie project with these kids after the expulsion. The kids are suppose to create their own ideas for a storyboard and the movie, which takes place in the skate park and broach issue of a thievery. Afterwards we will teach them how to act behind and in front of the camera. In the ideal case the kids will do the cutting under our construction. Not only the subject “thievery” takes place in the movie, of course we will film a lot of Skateboarding too.

As you can see we came up with a lot of new ideas and thoughts, but since we are only a few volunteer’s it´s really hard to realize all of it. We hope with the new collaboration between us and the circus we can offer a greater choice of classes and more.

Time flies and every day drifts away like nothing and we can barely finish all our work and ideas. So many projects, like our accommodation for example, didn’t progress at all and backs up more and more. Here you get aware once more how much work a social project like this is and how important it is to have as many motivated volunteers as possible.

For me it is a pleasure and it makes me proud to develop structures and ideas for the projects best. Even though there were exhausting, frustrating and hard times, the proceedings related to the project were never as obvious as they are now.

That’s it for now. I hope you could get a good impression of our work in this beautiful country.
When you have any questions do not hesitate asking.

Adios y Pura Vida