Project: Building & Community
Destination: Costa Rica
Group Size: 8 colleagues
Funded by the SmithCorp Charitable Trust, the aim was to build a primary school in a village 30 minutes from Nicoya, after it was ruined by an earthquake 6 years ago. Partnering with Projects Aboard to facilitate the project, we helped to improve the education and lives of the people still affected by this disaster.
The school is situated in a very rural part of Costa Rica right next to the Barra Honda National Park. Houses are few and far between and built by the families who occupy them. The area is very poor and without the help of the SmithCorp Charitable Trust, this project would not have been completed for another 6 years.
The Building Work Begins
On the first day, we visited the site where we would be based for the next 2 weeks. The children were currently in a temporary classroom made from a corrugated roof and a concrete floor, with torn plastic sheets as walls, which let in the heavy rain onto the desks. The building of the new school had begun with the help of the locals who had put up the frame of the building and the concrete walls. However, it was still very much an empty shell. We knew we had our work cut out!
Most of our days were spent digging or cement mixing (or both) which I can safely say is a skill we feel we have all mastered. The sun was scorching in the day followed by thunderstorms in the afternoon. We created moats to direct the vast amount of rain so it wouldn’t flood our hard days’ work. Once the roof was on and the floor had set it was time to buff, plaster and paint the walls.
The days were long, tiring and very hot but everyone worked their socks off! All of this work was guided by a local builder who became our legend, Jose, and a member of Projects Abroad, Oscar.
Following the incredible work achieved by the group, SmithCorp Charitable Trust also donated a generous sum of money so that the school would be completed with equipment, furniture, fire safety equipment, a playground and a new toilet block.
In September of 2017, we received an update from our team that volunteers and staff have begun work on the toilet block for the school.