On to the Next One

I’m done with the Chepe life and the Schools for Fools campaign. I’m glad to have gotten some independence in San Jose, some privacy in renting a room, and a form of income for a little while. It’s good to know I can get a decent paying job in Costa Rica and speaking English puts me at a great advantage than most ticos who are unfortunately not as qualified. It was a great ego-booster to have gotten hired here, after fighting for some kind of employment in New York City for 2 months. After a while, I did begin to feel overqualified for a call center, but I also understand one must possess a certain don (skill) for those kind of sales position. I don’t know if it’s the tone of your voice, the gift of gab, or the tactful persuasiveness that some people naturally possess, but I definitely know that I wouldn’t last happily at that job for too long.

In honor of the campaign, here are a list of the top 8 most unique names I came across:

8. Vernelious (too close to venerial)

7. Chequlia

6. Gualberto

5. Vannara

4. Bienvenido (This name means welcome in Spanish, but thank God at least it was a man)

3. Latofia (Girl, get that laffy taffy)

2.  Langitoto

1. Idionna (this name sounds too close to ‘Idiot’)

Counting down my last month in Costa Rica, I am now moving on to the next part of my adventures here. Come Monday, I’ll be volunteering with a Learning Center in a rural part of Costa Rica. Volunteering is what I wanted to do from jump, so I’m glad to have found an organization who’s focus is conservation, educating tourists, and most importantly giving back to the community. When I tell people I’m going to volunteer, the conversations usually go like this:

Random Person: That’s cool, how much are they paying?

GT: Nothing, I’m going to be giving back for free.

RP: Are they offering room and board?

GT: No, some programs don’t have enough funding to house and feed their volunteers.

RP: So, you’re paying to work for free?

GT: Yup.

RP: Why?

GT: (Cheesy Answer) Because what I’m getting in return is priceless.

(Real Answer) Because that’s how I want to give back.

I believe that volunteering is such a meaningful experience, that I’m willing to pay to use my gifts. Now I know that there are some exorbitant fees tied with some programs, but it’s all about doing your research and making sure that there’s no 3rd-party intercepting most of that money because the cost of living in some developing countries is really cheap. I found that trying to find a good program that was the best fit for me took me coming to Costa Rica and searching while here. Ideally, I would have liked to have everything set up before I left but it didn’t happen that way. Bottom line is I’m doing what I came here for before I bounce!

I’m excited about ‘unplugging’ from all the luxuries that city life brings like traffic jams, malls, high-speed internet and noise! Over the next 3 weeks I hoped to do more of the things I always get distracted from doing more of; things like reading, writing, thinking, and praying. The regularly scheduled program will be on pause for a minute, but I will be back in August with some new episodes!

Wish me the best as I try to make a difference in the world!


She Traces

On to the Next One

My 8-5: Schools for Fools

I have to delay the regularly scheduled program of my weekend in pictures post due to my unreliable internet that won’t let me upload more than 2 photos (I want to post 17). That draft will be put on hold for a little while. I took Monday off to get resettled from the weekend beach trip and went back to work today, somewhat refreshed and with a plethora of bites all over my body that I acquired sometime overnight. I’m hesitant to say they are mosquito bites, because they are all different sizes and I don’t tend to sleep through mosquito’s nipping at me. So for now, they are mystery bites. Just to be sure, I changed the sheets on the bed and cleaned my cell room up a bit just in case the critters began feeding off my dust/filth.

This week makes the fourth week that I’ve been working for a call center here in Chepe. A call center may seem like a menial job in the States, but it’s actually considered one of the highest paying jobs a young person can secure in Costa Rica; due to the high-demand for English speakers. We have to conduct calls entirely in English, even when we get Latin folk asking us if we speak Spanish. The account we work for is an ‘education referral service,’ with a sales feature. What we do is basically call people who have expressed some kind of interest in furthering their education by either filling out aform to win a free ipad2 or to win a $100 Walmart card, and try to convince them to have us refer them to at least 3 schools max (per person) depending on what field they are interesting in studying. Triple sales are made when they agree to allow us to send their information on to 3 schools, doubles are two schools, etc. Our salary is base plus $1 per school we refer them to. The schools pay the company lots of money to refer people to them, and in turn, they still save a ton by having a call center in San Jose where minimum wage is about $4.50/hour. Commission is $1 per sale, and if you are among the Top 5 sellers of the week then your commission is tripled to $3 a sale.

You ain't tryna go to school fool?

I never thought I would get a Bachelor’s degree just to work at a call center in Costa Rica, but this is a temporary position. Praise to Jesus, I’m not really strapped for cash and I mainly got a job just to replenish my bank account and pass the time doing something while I’m here. Don’t be deceived, there are people who maintain themselves and families off this income, especially when they strive to make Top 5- they can end up taking up $500 biweekly. That may not sound like a lot of money but remember  that the  standard of living is much cheaper here and that ends up going a long way.  When I started training, I realized I couldn’t do this job for more than 2 months. The one month anniversary has definitely urged me to start looking into my next (ad)venture. Not that I haven’t gotten a kick out of having so many co-workers, and working with so many guilas (kids) but I also know that besides teaching me how to pitch, manipulate (in a compliant way) and multi-task, I’m not really learning that much here.  Among the deportees, the unprofessionalism and the clear favoritism, I do count on the fact that at the end of the day we are doing a service for folks who are really interested in going back to college. We are giving people schools for future consideration, and it’s an honest business. I sleep well knowing we are not extorting personal information from them, or enrolling them into programs they don’t really want. At the end of the day, they took a first step; they stayed on the  line when they could have just as easily hung up. So if I got them thinking about enrolling in school, it wouldn’t be the worse thing I’ve done in my life.

My 8-5: Schools for Fools