Great Humanitarian Trips Around the World
© Cross-Cultural Solutions
Childcare and HIV/AIDS Outreach, Costa Rica
What It’s About: The impoverished communities around the Costa Rican town of Cartago (about 45 minutes southeast of San Jose) are home to several orphanages, schools, and group homes for children; there’s also a residential center for local adults with HIV/AIDS. These group programs make do with a chronic lack of staff and resources—and so are grateful for the assistance of volunteers.
What it Involves: A positive attitude and lots of energy. Volunteers spend several hours a day helping with orphans and foster children—many of whom live in crowded group homes supervised by tías (or “aunties”). Some of these homes have as many as 30 children, and so there’s lots of cooking and cleaning to be done, schoolwork to help with, and games to be played. Other volunteers are placed to assist with HIV/AIDS patients who live in a residential treatment center and in communities around Cartago; while these tasks sometimes involve serving meals and helping patients with physical therapy, just visiting and talking (in Spanish) is even more important. During their downtime—what there is of it—volunteers can also take Spanish and salsa dancing lessons, and take field trips to local coffee plantations and museums.
Roughing-It Rating: Low. Volunteers live at a comfortable “home base” in Cartago, with clean dorm rooms, cooked meals, an office for Cross-Cultural Solutions staff, and wireless Internet access.
Cost: Starts at $1,765 per week
More Information: Cross-Cultural Solutions