Making Our Rent Payments…!

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”                                           By Muhammad Ali

Costa Rica Strike Update…!

I have been unsuccessful locating the most up to date news about the Costa Rican strike. The best anyone seems to know at this time is that a very large percentage of the striking workers have returned to work. However, the strike is not officially over. Still looking for clarification on the status of the strike.

The very good news is the impact of the strike has not slowed down the Copey Learning Center. As reported last week, serious education within the walls of the Copey Learning Center is taking place. Graduation is less than one month away and the students have plenty to do.

Learning Center Ambassadors

Many of you will remember Brian Rodriquez. Brian, a Copey Learning Center student Emory 22now for several years, is one of the two “Pathway Project” students who came to America last June. He also represents the first male student among the six “Pathway Project” students who have been selected so far.  Each of the “Pathwayemory-56-e1531758347333.jpg Project” students are selected in part with the expectation they will accept several responsibilities in exchange for this very special experience.

One key responsibility is to return home from America as an “Ambassador for education”. Meaning, “Ambassadors” are expected to be worthy examples for younger students to look up to and learn from. They are to be role models exemplifying good student and citizenship behavior. They are to be leaders! We believe this very special opporunity to enjoy a two-week all expense paid educational trip to America is a fair exchange for becoming an “Ambassador” and a role model for others.

I recently inquired about Brian and shortly thereafter Brian sent me a note. I am happy to share his message with you.

Brian Noteemory Group 2Brian and I have exchanged notes again and he knows he and the other five students (Ambassadors); Adriana, Fatima, Celeste, Noelia, and Lourdes, all share the responsibility of being role models for other students at the Copey Learning Center and the Copey community. This is expecting a lot but we have met each one, spent time with each one, and know first-hand that each one has the potential for success and being the type of person others will want to emulate.

My hope is for “Friends of Copey” to see the importance of our efforts, the extent of our interest, and value of our support for the Copey Learning Center. Did you know you were renting space?


Be Someone’s Sunshine…!

“Always find opportunities to make someone smile, and to offer random acts of kindness in everyday life.” – Roy T. Bennett

Costa Rican Strike…Update

Based on the latest news I can find, as of October 21st the strike is over as a practical matter. In recent days the Costa Rican supreme court rejected the tax reform because it limited the workers’ salary increases. The union leadership proposed a “pause” and everyone is headed back to work and most schools.

Background on Strike

The huelga nacional (national strike) in Costa Rica is complicated. The simple version was that in the first part of September 2018 some union workers walked off their government jobs and began protesting the legislature’s tax and spending reform plan scheduled to become law in November.

The union walkouts closed schools and curtailed public sector medical care, banking, social security and other services.  The protest marches were intended to gain attention by blockading traffic on major highways, shipping ports, bridges and at fuel depots causing as much disruption as possible.  Intimidation was also a tactic with protestors gathering in front of the homes of elected representatives.

The proposed tax and spending reform package increased taxes on food and other necessities while reducing bonuses, salary caps and severance pay for public workers. The government maintained that it is fair and balanced and the only way to avoid Costa Rica going bankrupt and prevent the complete collapse of public services and the economy.

The unions claimed it steals their pensions, unfairly raises the taxes on the poor and will bankrupt the people. Their alternate proposal “the Justice and Solidarity Tax Reform” would increase taxes on banks and companies with “excessively” high profits, eliminate “luxury” pensions for politicians and payments to political parties, and aggressively prosecute tax evasion and fraud by real estate magnates and other extremely wealthy families.

The tax and spending reform is necessary because previous administrations did some creative accounting and internal borrowing. The news reports that Costa Rica is broke and the U.S. and other banks refuse to lend any more money to increase the national debt until there’s a solution in place.

Whether the proposal is sound fiscal legislation or a fraudulent con job, the democratic process appears to be a bit off the rails in Costa Rica.

Copey Learning Center News


The news from the Copey Learning Center is very refreshing as it seems things are getting back to normal. The high school age students have been working on creating presentations. Recently the subject was India and Henna (I believe Henna pertains to body art and the use of a plant leaf as a dye for coloring skin.) Just guessing!

The project included learning about India and was deemed a huge success. As in any successful project, at its conclusion there is a thirst for more…more time…more opportunity to investigate and learn about India’s history and culture.

Andrea, the new Director, reported this project reallyCopey Students. 9 filled her with joy. “It was wonderful to see students so eager to learn with such positive attitudes”. This has been said so many times about the Copey Learning Center students….“so eager to learn”.

The very strong education machine…aka The Copey Learning Center, seemingly has been somewhat in the slow gear lately thanks much to the strike. But, with the strike nearing an end, I can sense the machine is getting a little more excited as the year will come to an end in less than six weeks.

As the year draws to a close, the process will start soon to identify and select the next successful candidates who will travel to the United States under the “2019 Pathway Project”. More details will be forthcoming on the process several students will follow to be eligible and potentially selected. The process will result in the selection of our number 7 and 8 students to make the very exciting and memorable journey to America and to our Emory & Henry College campus. This will also mark the start of the recruitment of a couple of the college students to go to Copey for a volunteer class assignment in 2019.

Final Word…!

I hope to return to my Monday Post schedule next week. Tuesdays have worked out better the past couple of weeks because of news flow and several other non-related commitments. We continue to work on upcoming Skype session between our local Jefferson Elementary students and the Copey Learning Center students. Looks great for happening in two weeks. Keep connected.










Road of Success…No Traffic Jams!

“You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.”              By Zig Ziglar


Cost Rican Strike Update…..!

Many of the workers have returned to work. However, according to information offered recently by the Costa Rican government, 98.5% of the workers still on strike are employees of the Ministry of Public Education. So currently the protests are limited to workers of the Ministry of Education according to the papers. “The strike that presented itself as a national movement is limited at this time to the educators (teachers) and this sector represents 98.5% of the strikers”.

Therefore, the status of the Copey Learning Center remains mostly unchanged since early September. The education at the Learning Center continues uninterrupted but not all of the students are able to attend.  Graduation is scheduled for November 23.

Picture Tour

eh-foc-4.jpgIt is always fun to see the young students standing near or even inside the Copey Learning Center. It is especially wonderful when the kids are displaying the name and colors of the college where many of us “Friends” have a strong affiliation. EH FOC Post.3

There is a strong and healthy connection developing between the college and the Copey Learning Center. The mutual interest and cultural awareness is not limited to the young kids. You can find the parents and other adults donning the same attire as the kids.

Kiwanis International Connections

Perhaps we should ship a few Kiwanis shirts to Copey as well. Speaking of Kiwanis, certainly most of the “Friends” are not aware that one of my first real introductions to Costa Rica was thru an international Kiwanis connection. Claudio Pacheco, of Costa Rica was one of my first contacts. His wife Claudioonce belonged to an active Kiwanis Club located in San Jose, Costa Rica and it was because of this connection we met.

Claudio is a most interesting gentleman who attended the United States Naval Academy and served in the US Coast Guard.

Some of Claudio’s family lives in the Copey area. Also, he has family residing in the United States and is very informed and enthusiastic about life in America.

I fully enjoyed having lunch with him during the visit to Costa Rica last November. His friendship and respect has been and remains very important to me and I appreciate the support he has provided over the years to “Friends of Copey”.  For certain, if Kiwanis had not been involved, Claudio Pacheco and I may never have met.

Health and Welfare Report!

There has not been anything new or changed for Marta or my Aunt Christine over the past week. Both are doing well given the circumstances. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.



“Sunrises Bring New Opportunities”

“Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.”             By Wayne Huizenga

Costa Rican Strike Update…!

Costa Rica remains in the throes of a 30 day old nationwide strike. Some progress has been made to bring to a close but there is a major issue preventing the termination. Because the government, which the courts regard the strike as “illegal”, has made payroll payments to the striking workers while on strike, these payroll payments “must” be repaid according to the government. The unions disagree and at best, believe the repayments should be effective the date of the court’s decision and not the date the strike started. As you can imagine, an individual worker returning a payroll check is probably impossible. The government gave the unions an ultimatum to sign the new agreement and return to work. So…the light at the end of the tunnel is very dim. Costa Rican newspaper reports:

           “Trade Unions Defy “Line In The Sand” Drawn By Government”

The “strike” is very important to Copey because it includes public school teachers. School teachers not working means the public schools are closed. Because of distance, many of the students are unable to attend their classes at the Copey Learning Center. Based on a recent update, more students are now finding ways to get to the Copey Learning Center each day, but it is a serious challenge for some.

The Copey Learning Center’s graduation is set for November 23, 2018 and there appears no “Friends of Copey” will be attending. We wish we could be there and experience the amazing hospitality and excitement provided during last year’s graduation.

Welcome Back Jefferson Elementary School!

A newly remodeled Jefferson Elementary School has opened and discussions are underway again to establish a skype session between our Jefferson Elementary School K-Kids organization and the students at the Copey Learning Center.

Who are K-Kids?  

Kiwanis’ K-Kids is the largest service organization for elementary school students, with more than 36,000 members worldwide. The first K-Kids was chartered in 2000. Today, there are more than 1,200 clubs worldwide.

Jefferson Elementary Pen Pal

K-Kids at Jefferson Elementary School

K-Kids is a student-led community service organization that operates under school regulations and draws its members from the student body. Our Kiwanis Club serves as the sponsor for the K-Kids organization housed at Jefferson Elementary School.

A couple years ago we formalized the relationship between Jefferson’s K-Kids and students at the Copey Learning Center. Now, this relationship allows kids in both countries to get to know one another and expand their learning experiences. This is an extremely rare educational experience because not many US elementary students have the opportunity to interact with their peers in another country in this fashion. Certainly, the Copey Learning Center students have no other opportunity like this.

Hurricane Michael’s Status and Things!

Here we go again my “Friends” in the south. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as it appears more bad weather is in your path. Hurricane Michael appears very destructive and we hope all will be well.

Also, Ana Yancy’s sister Marta is out of the hospital at this time and still going through treatment. Keep both Marta and my Aunt Christine in your prayers.

Do Unto Others…!

“We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to life.”                            By  Edwin Markham

Costa Rican Strike…Continues!

The different labor unions involved in the public employee strike in Costa Rica rejected the “preliminary proposal” negotiated with the Government this past Friday and Saturday. A meeting between the two parties was scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m. to discuss the proposal. Instead of the Sunday meeting, the labor union leaders held a press conference to announce they plan to continue with the “indefinite strike”. The parties participating in the strike involve hospital workers, school teachers, national emergency workers, fire and police departments, garbage collectors, and other public workers.

The Copey Learning Center Spelling Beeremains open with classes provided to those students capable of attending although the local public schools are closed. Also, as mentioned last week, the “Spelling Bee” competition has become a casualty due to the ongoing “strike”. I am certain there are other collateral impacts being experienced by the students and the communities.

Looking Back…!

It has been said that “our memory is the treasure-house of the mind” and for “Friends of Copey”, the treasure-house continues to fill up. While things have slowed down some at the Copey Learning Center, let us take a look back at some of the photos of events we have experienced in 2018. Just a few photos show us some of the many different people helping make up our recent history. We can see the young and the old working together in two countries getting things done. Let’s not forget these recent times.

Friends Books 2             carolyn Johnson

Meadow elementary school 2  Utah Photo

Utah Team and kids 6   29541447_10155498868101814_6333781006688582404_n Utah Team w Carolyn

Partnership slide. 1   Angela Kara

Emory 28  emory 56Emory 20  EH Shirt PhotosThese photos provide an amazing array of stories of achievements and eight months of life-time memories for many of us. There are many young and older folks who make up these memories and we continue to look forward to the final two months of school.

Thanks for the memories!