Escuela Akom, Costa Rica

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July 4, 2015 by kimberlyfenton

Escuela Akom!

I decided it was only right to start my travels with my twin sister where it all began in Costa Rica… On a mission to try and find the school I helped build when I was 17 years old, within an indigenous community almost impossible to locate on any map.  Another early bus ride took us South for 4 hours to Buenos Aires. Memories started flooding back upon arrival into the town centre. I could vaguely remember things, and strangely enough, I could place old photos! Next task, to find a taxi driver who had an idea of where the community Akom is situated…

I thought that this would be the tricky part, given that it isn’t even on the map. Luckily, the Indigenous Reserve of Salitre, in which Akom is located, has been developed over the years, with signs in place such as “Don’t throw rubbish” and “Look after our community.” I knew that a 4×4 taxi was needed, and we found a nice guy who knew “mas o menos” what I was talking about… you should have heard me trying to describe it to the poor man, “there are a couple of houses… some cows… a football field next to a little shop, and a school… you know it?” As we went off road, I remembered the familiar rocky and windy roads where we used to hike blasting out “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus to give us a lift. Haaaa.


I couldn’t contain my excitement when I realised that we were on the right tracks as we passed some of the only landmarks which I recognised, such as a thatched roof house with a sign saying Salitre, and some river crossings. It took us just over an hour going at a steady pace over the bumpy road and we arrived at the entrance to my school. I jumped out of the taxi and I just couldn’t believe we had found it! It really was a special moment for me, and all the memories came flooding back! The school was shut, which was a shame, but we went down to have a look. They had extended it slightly at the back with some chairs and tables outside, but everything was exactly the same, with big lettKnee Shoters on the front painted saying it was founded in 2009. It looked in good shape and I was It so happy. Sal jumped up on one of the chairs to peer inside and shouted, “KIM THERE’S YOUR HAND!” I honestly never thought that they would still be there… I couldn’t believe it! It was so great to be able to show my sister the school and the place which she had heard about endless times! Like the taxi driver said, the school has a memory of me, and my body has a memory of the school (my scar.) What an amazing day, totally worth the journey, and something I won’t forget in a long time.

Back again!Sally and I in the town

 Photos from 2009:


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