Wrapping up in Costa Rica
After a number of late days and even later nights, our time in Costa Rica has come to an end. 11 days and 4 blog posts later, the Box volunteers have wrapped up their final day with facilitators from Paniamor and Ideas en Accion. And what a time it was for everyone involved.
Two days after piloting our new and improved curriculum, our day started with the processing of the feedback we had received and observed. The focus this time was to help come up with ways of measuring the impact and development of students who will have completed the curriculum. Just like the day before, the facilitators were leading the charge, passionately engaging with one another over the right measurements to gauge the Maker curriculum. As I sat back and observed the session unfold, it was amazing to see this group of facilitators become experts on these subjects in such a short amount of time before my eyes. Facilitators that were hesitant only days before were fervently debating the merits of different standards to measure. It proved to me that with a little guidance and a heart full of passion and perseverance, amazing results can be produced.
Volunteers and Facilitators going over feedback from the last Tecnobus tour
Following the session, facilitators and volunteers were able to provide their own feedback about the project and improve the impact of the curriculum. This time was spent celebrating the victories, both big and small, and a chance to find ways to prepare for next year’s project.
After an intense two weeks working closely with our peers, a Paniamor volunteer offered to host the final dinner for the Box team and other facilitators this final evening. And what a fitting way to end. As the night wore on, songs were sung, delicious food was consumed, and stories from the last few weeks were recounted. Even though only a short time had passed, you would not have been able to tell that from the events of such a special night. The success of the project extended far beyond the classroom.
With any beginning, there must ultimately be an end. And as the final morning for the volunteers dawned, there were many happy smiles to be seen, celebrating a job well done and the memories and relationships made over the last few days. As the team prepared their final presentation for the Executive Director of Paniamor, a final gift was prepared in the form of a video from our very own Kate, thanking our hosts for their hospitality and for the chance to work with such an inspirational group of individuals. As I end this post and pack for my journey back home, I leave you with this quote from Maya Angelou that represents the continued work of the true heroes of this project, the facilitators of Paniamor and Ideas en Accion. We hope that our efforts to empower them leaves a lasting impact as they continue with their mission serving the youth of Costa Rica; I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
In simple numbers, the 5 Box volunteers had provided 550 hours of pro-bono work for Paniamor and Ideas en Accion, while engaging in over 264 hours of training for 10 facilitators/NGO staff. The team had also donated 1 3D printer, 1 Arduino, 1 Raspberry Pi, 1 Science and Art Kit while also helping to install Arduino software and a basic CAD program on the Tecnobus laptops. In addition to that, the volunteers leave behind a drawer full of guidelines, example assessments, student worksheets, videos, and photos as references for Paniamor and Ideas en Accion to continue developing their curriculum.