Last Evening I Got A Taste of Costa Rica Education

Late last night, (that’s after 7 p.m. around Casa de Dark-Early) Maricela, who is our gate-keeper, came a calling.

In Costa Rica, everybody has a gate. Protocol is to approach the gate and call out. If you know a name, use it, if not, call Ope! (O-pay)

Maricela came to the gate and called for Nancy (Nahn-cee.) She was with her kids, 15 year old boy, 11 year old Dylana (Dee-lana) and 7 year old Nazareth (Nazarett.) Nanc’ went to see what was up and Maricela was holding two pairs of boys pants. She needed some alterations done
– for her son
– to wear on a school field trip to the zoo
– the next day!

A full account of the alteration conversation is here.

The break through came with Dylana. She knows a lot of English and speaks it very well! She has been at our house playing around the pool with Abby and we see her regularly walking. She has always been quiet and shy about speaking ANY language… but something broke the ice (HAR, ice in Costa Rica, now that’s funny.) We’re not sure if she is getting encouragement from her teacher, her mother, both or she just got her confidence up, but she is so proud to speak English to us.

She brought her 5th grade English workbook to show me. No Spanish, it is entirely in English and during that class, there is no English spoken.

Not only can she read and speak English, she can write it too. Perfectly. No readin’, ritin’ and ‘rithmatic. It’s readING, writING and Arithmetic. As we stood in the street chatting in English and Spanish and Spanglish we had a ball – lots of laughs and giggles – including the 15 year old boy and the 64 year old man.

There seems to be no jealousy among the kids: the 15 year old has not had any English language education in school (he goes to the local Gracimo school.) But he sat there with a grin on his face as his littler sisters took the spotlight.

Nazareth, the little imp, was running around imitating a monkey. She was a “little hyper” as Nancy said. OK, maybe a little jealous of the attention Dylana was getting.

Dylana attends school in Atenas and she has ten teachers! In addition to reading, writing, and arimetic, she has a computer class, science class, physical training, music and more. She was very excited about the computer class, so at some point I’ll have her visit and we’ll fire up the computer and see what she can teach me.

Who says education can’t be fun? The one I’m getting here sure is.

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