Abi Dardas is a student at Loyola University Chicago and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She is currently participating on an ISA Service-Learning program abroad with ISA in Cartago, Costa Rica.
Back in the States, I go to college in Chicago. The city has a surprising amount of green space, but it is nothing compared to Arkansas. That’s where I grew up, and it’s also known as the Natural State. I chose to do service-learning in Costa Rica because, among other factors, I was missing the easy accessibility to nature while I was in Chicago this past year. Believe it or not, Costa Rica only covers 0.03 percent of the planet but contains six percent of the Earth’s biodiversity! While I’m in Cartago, Costa Rica, I get to see casual and constant beauty every single day as I walk to my host organization.
The commute to the youth development organization is a fairly easy walk that usually takes twenty minutes or so, and leads me down the main road for a few blocks and then along a neighborhood road. My “sister” and I were both placed in the same host organization, so we walk to our site together each morning and back home each afternoon. We typically walk to our host organization in the sun and return in cloudy weather.
I’m not a morning person, so the walk is a nice way to wake up. The short walk is filled with cars, runners, commuters, bright colors from the buildings, barking dogs, and mountains in almost every direction. I enjoy looking at the different types of houses, the various colors, the animals families have, and their gardens too. Surprisingly to me, these neighborhoods usually contain more than just residential houses. Interwoven into the mostly connected buildings are small businesses, restaurants, and even small farms at the end of the street with crops, cows, or horses. There is so much to take in, I’m still seeing something new each day.
The nature that I see on my walk to my host organization helps me wake up, but it also helps me slow down. Nature helps me appreciate the small things. It reminds me that while there is bad in the world, there is also so much beauty sitting right in front of us if we just slow down enough to appreciate it.
The world awaits…discover it.