It is easy to forget that there is poverty in the world until you see it first-hand. If you live in the center of Liberia, Costa Rica, you might not see it every day – you might never see it. But if you go to Martinas Bustos just outside of the city limits, you will see a different world of people who are living in rundown shacks without floors, electricity, running water, or toilets.
For the second time in two months, the students at Instituto Estelar Bilingue came together to donate supplies and essential items to the people of this neighborhood. In December, we delivered boxes full of food and sanitary products to 12 families desperately in need. We also joined forces with Souls Helping Soles to deliver shoes to children and teens of this community. This time, we did a donation drive with the students of Martinas Bustos in mind. Together we filled 15 new backpacks with pens, paper, notebooks, colored pencils, and other materials that are required for students who attend public school. Going to school in Costa Rica is very expensive and it can take a toll on a family, even a middle-class family. For this reason, we wanted to help support the parents that are struggling to send their children to school and to reward the students who are working hard for their education.
On February 14, a team of 17 people – students and staff of Instituto Estelar as well as volunteers for Souls Helping Soles – met at the institute to make the delivery. We loaded the backpacks and shoes into two cars and a donated micro-bus from a local tour company called Offi Tours. We drove to the school near Martinas Bustos, but found out that all of the students had gone home and would be returning in the afternoon. So we made our way into the neighborhood and stopped on the main road where we saw children playing.
We handed the first backpacks to two girls in school uniforms who smiled from ear to ear, and quickly a crowd began to form around our cars. Children of all ages were gathering around, asking if they could have one as well. Our team worked together to give backpacks to school-goers and shoes to any child with a foot that fit one of our pairs. It was a little hectic and it did take a lot of teamwork on our part, but it was so rewarding to see the smiles on the kids faces when they received their backpack or slid their foot into a perfect pair of shoes.
Although it was a small gift to give, we made a difference in the lives of dozens of children and students living in poverty. It is our hope that we can do many of these donation drives in the future and that people from all over Costa Rica and the United States will get involved so that we can further help the poor communities around us.
If you want to get involved, please contact us!
Souls Helping Soles: http://www.soulshelpingsoles.org
Instituto Estelar Bilingüe: http://www.estelarcr.com