As I mentioned in an earlier post, our friend Kathy is teaching at the Monteverde Friends School. Her husband David has designed and is building a new timber-frame meeting house (check out the project’s Facebook page). The school was founded by the Quaker community and the current meeting house, which serves the whole community, has been outgrown. It is a complex project, because the new meeting house will sit on the footprint of the kindergarten building; and the new Kinder building is still under construction. Indeed, the goal is to have the old Kinder demolished (by hand!) and the new Kinder open for business, by next Tuesday!
When we arrived at the job site the new Kinder was abuzz with activity; a mixture of the contractors’ staff and volunteers were painting the interior and completing a retaining wall next to the structure. Our family and Jim’s family spent much of the day helping with today’s big task: disassembling the bodega (a storage shed for construction materials) so it can be moved to a new site, away from the new Kinder and closer to the new meeting house. Further, to clean up the construction debris from the area around the Kinder; imagine the challenge of removing every dropped nail and scrap of wood from the area where kindergartners will soon play. Our kids did a wonderful job, working hard to pick up debris and sort it into piles suitable for recycling, and were soon recruited for ferrying loads of soil to backfill the new retaining wall.
There was a mid-morning break for Meeting, in which all of the K-12 schoolchildren, plus teachers and staff, elders of the Quaker community, and guests, sat quietly for an hour. After about 20 minutes of silent contemplation – quite impressive for the young schoolchildren – one of the teachers spoke (first in Spanish, then in English) about an inspirational quote from Chief Seattle. We sat for another period of silent contemplation. I thought perhaps another person would be moved to speak, but eventually the head of school stood to invite the guests to introduce ourselves, then shared some school announcements before dismissing the Meeting.
We returned to the hard work – the bodega was built with heavy tropical timbers – yet the work was made pleasant by good weather and good friends. One of the other volunteers in the bodega crew was David, who I learned is the son of Ricardo (our guide from the cloud forest). David had been a student at the school until recently and was home from university for a break. Nice fellow!
Our team was tuckered out, and headed home mid-afternoon for a good rest. John was excited to babysit for the other five kids, who recruited them all to prepare a dinner of fried rice, so we adults walked down the road to Café Caburé for a fine meal of food inspired by both Argentinian and Costa Rican traditions. Concluded, of course, by fabulous chocolate desserts!
For more photos from the Friends School, view this gallery (start on page 3).