Written by: Sonali Bhat
Mahesh (my husband) and I decided to take off 4 weeks from our day to day somewhat monotonous lifestyle in Chicago to visit the beautiful country of Costa Rica . Our plan included volunteering with Abriendo Mentes while exploring the rain-forests and wildlife of this country.
The first week after arriving in San Jose, we took day trips to the mountains visiting an inactive volcano, zip-lining across valleys, rafting waters of Pacuare river and finally chilling on the carrebean side of costa rica — Puerto Viejo! It took a little bit of self convincing to leave that paradise before we arrived in Potrero.
Being from new Delhi, India, Potrero was just like home. People relaxing under the sun, stray dogs, cows and pigs and not to forget my 5:00 am rooster alarm in the early hours of the morning.
My time spent here has truly been refreshing. The enthusiasm and energy of AM founders Meradith and Drew has been so contagious. It makes you want to keep pushing and working hard because you are able to see the impact of your efforts right away. People here don’t talk about giving back to the community or making a difference. They take action and implement their plans. It’s so inspiring and so touching.
I also realized spending so much time with the kids that there is so much to learn from their innocent hearts. The bonds that they make with you can’t get any more real and their affection knows no bounds. There is so much that I will take back with me to Chicago, but more importantly I will never forget how much love, affection and warmth I have received from everyone here– my host family, the AM group, the people of Potrero and last but not the least — the kids!