Inspired by Betty Londergan's What Gives 365 and the Bible (not necessarily in that order!), I'm giving away $250 a week in 2011.

This is where I'm recording that journey, and I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Building Community in Unexpected Places

In the early days of Just Giving It, I heard from my friend Sarah regarding an upcoming adventure she was excited to be part of. I asked her if she would be willing to write about it here. She sent me the following entry and photos on March 9 -- I've waited to share them with all of you until now since this fourth week of the month is set aside for projects suggested by those of you who read this blog. Here is Sarah's inspiring tale:

"Last month, I was one of a group of 12 disparate people from work  who spent a week in Costa Rica with SOS, helping a group of nine women in a small, remote northwestern village realize their dream. Our task was to help the women’s association of Los Jazmines de Upala create a computer lab in the local school and build a 5m x 8m office on what was, when we arrived, a patch of grass on the brink of a river valley. 

We slept in rows on the floor of the open air community centre. We worked hard. We achieved far more than was expected in the time we had. And, despite the language barrier, we bonded deeply with the women and children of the community.

On the construction front, we earned our stripes with encouragement, in Spanish, from Sergio, the local foreman. With aqui (here), ahi (there) and mas (more), we muddled through. And when we were lacking in the tool department, Sergio had the uncanny ability to fashion almost any implement from a block of wood, three swipes of a machete and two swings of a hammer. 

Today we served up our final SOS lunch – this one free of charge in recognition of the support we received from our fellow Q-mates. And, as more than 60 colleagues gathered, we shared stories, showed slides and gave thanks. We returned to Canada on February 27 but for me, March 9 symbolizes the true end of this journey. We gave our hearts and a week of our time to Los Jazmines and we received many, many gifts in return. But, though we had an inkling of it all along, we had to leave the country to understand that the real gift – the real community we were building – was right here at home."

It is my pleasure to support this exciting initiative. I love the way it uses work and food and students and time together to bridge and build communities. I'm thankful that Sarah is part of mine.

Welcome home to the whole Costa Rica team -- may your global awareness and local camaraderie continue to flourish!


  1. Hi Rebecca,

    First off, this is a wonderful initiative that you are your family are undertaking. The donated funds will make a bit impact, but your efforts to put together (and keep up) this site, sharing it with others, will hopefully create a much larger overall impact - well done.

    Secondly, I'd like to thank you on behalf of Students Offering Support. As we continue to expand nationally (and internationally) that supports over 1000 student volunteers who help 20,000 students a year in the classroom locally and thousands of children in rural communities in Latin America like Los Jazmines in Costa Rica, any support at this stage is very much appreciated.

    Keep up the great work over 2011,

    All the best,


    Greg Overholt | Founder & Executive Director
    Students Offering Support

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Greg, and congratulations on all you're doing -- seems like a terrific organization full of creative ideas!