BY DEVON HAYES
Sometimes we just need a little bit of inspiration to get us through the day.
When Conestoga journalism broadcast student Adam Rochon travelled to San Jose, Costa Rica with 20 other student leaders, he set out on a mission to channel that inspiration to his peers.
Rochon is the creator of a campaign called Respecting the Process In Poverty – Costa Rica, which aims to help others develop an understanding of Costa Ricans daily, weekly and monthly routines. With Respecting the Process, Rochon saw the perfect opportunity to spread the message of poverty in that country through a video he took while there.
“I use it as a platform to tell people’s stories,” he said. “It was interesting to be down there, and to experience that way of life. It was a very unique experience and we were surrounded by tons of people who were involved in a very special process of their own.”
While there, Rochon and his peers spent time at a daycare. They helped run activities for the 70 children and assisted the other teachers.
The daycare is funded by the government, and the owners, Rebecca and Vilma Guido, receive a certain amount per child, depending on their age. Rochon said most of the children were incredibly impoverished and, for some, snacks at the daycare were the only meal of the day. Rochon learned just how difficult it can be to run a daycare, especially in a developing country like Costa Rica.
“Even if you have the most fun day ever, you still have a group of rambunctious children who come in groups and you need to somehow take care of them,” he said.
“They’d have snacks and these kids would just run in and sit down like, ‘let’s get that little slice of watermelon.’ It was the most humbling experience I’ve ever been through to see people appreciate the smallest things.”
Rochon also said that while they experienced the tough life because of Costa Rica’s economic turmoil, they were also exposed to just how grateful those students were just to be able to have tiny luxuries.
“One of the most inspiring things about the trip was seeing them have nothing and find the joy and satisfaction in the simplest things,” he said. One of those luxuries was a homemade basketball net the student leaders made for the children.
“There was a wire – it was just a wire, we don’t really know where it came from – that we attached to a wall and then we hung it up with ropes. These kids were going to town on it!”
While he was there, Rochon said he wasn’t able to really film until their last day in Costa Rica.
“That was more of a communication error. We couldn’t really talk to them because of the language barrier. Nobody really pushed the pictures; we tried a couple times to take pictures but they’d be like, ‘no, no, don’t do that,’ so on that last day we got free rein and it was just one full day of walking around with a camera. It was really an amazing thing.”
Working with Maximo Nivel, an intercultural organization that helps students studying abroad and on trips get acquainted with their surrounding cultures, the Conestoga students were able to learn and quickly understand just how hard life can be for these young children.
“We got introduced to a really nice girl, Sharon Hsu, and she ended up helping us out and giving us a little tour of the area. We’d do different things every day to get a feel of what Costa Rica was really like.”
While they were there, the group did multiple debriefs with the Maximo Nivel staff.
“On the final day they did a review of what we had learned – what we liked and didn’t like – it was really interesting from the first meeting that we had to that last day how eye opened and inspired everybody was,” Rochon said. “A lot of people were really sad but that comes with the territory.”
The video can be found at www.respectingtheprocess.com/film/.