Do you remember having pen pals as a child? You wrote back and forth through old fashioned snail mail; sometimes you sent each other pencils or little treats.I had a pen pal in Latvia (of all places!).I waited with bated breath for my friend to send me letters in her perfect handwriting and perfect English (I was not at the time studying Latvian).
So now imagine that you are an 11 year old girl, born and raised in a little village on the Guanacaste coast of Costa Rica, having barely ever left your small 300 person town.And you have a pen pal from the US who emails letters to you which you receive in Abriendo Mentes class AND you find out that your pen pal is coming to visit you in Potrero.Imagine what a cool feeling that must be for a young child that rarely ventures out of town
After 2 – 3 months of exchanging letters, on July 1st 4 pen pals from across the US came to visit 4 Abriendo Mentes students in Potrero.This is a wonderful cross-cultural program organized by Thompson Family Adventures and Unique Adventure Costa Rica.Abriendo Mentes is fortunate enough to be in collaboration with Unique Adventures who (with Thompson Family) matches up students in the US with AM students. Unique Adventures CR is a company that specializes in travels through Costa Rica that emphasize the natural beauty and resources of Costa Rica and personal interaction with the culture and people.
We worked with these organizations to plan an afternoon activity for the visiting families and the AM students.The pen pals came to the [newly painted] community center to meet their Costa Rican friends.They interacted through a “get to know you” worksheet which was in both English and Spanish, and then bonded over ice cream and a game of what could only be called indoor soccer, sans rules.
It was a great day for the families, and both sets of pen pals.We truly hope that we can continue and expand this program and match each of our students with a pen pal in the future.Who knows, maybe little Jenifer will go to North Carolina one day to visit her pen pal Rylan!Vamos a ver.