Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Arriving in Costa Rica

There are lots of songs about going over the hills to someplace. At the holidays we go over the hill and thru the woods to Grandma’s house for turkey and pie, the Marines go over hill, over dale, hit the dusty trail and win the battle, Led Zeppelin sang about going over the hills and far away – that ends badly with dragons being involved, dragons always win. But I was going over the hills from San Jose, Costa Rica to Puerto Limon, which sounds like a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon. If I were to write a song about this trip over the hills it would probably sound like Yoko Ono’s primal screaming recordings.

There were 10 of us, and our luggage in a van with seating for 7, it was - cozy. After getting out of the city and starting to climb the hill the rain started and we are in a rain forest so the rain – it doesn’t stop. Neither does the driver, in fact the harder it rains the faster he drives, then the road disappears due to the fog – aka clouds, rain forest – remember – insert primal screams here. Water is streaming in thru the space between the sliding door and the roof where at one time there may have been weather stripping, there isn’t any now. On the upside – the faster we go the amount of water coming in diminishes. All this time there equally insane drivers heading the opposite direction and people passing us on both sides. The rain stops, the road is dry the sky is clear and the air is full of something? What is that – pineapple – you can’t see them but you can smell them.

We finally arrive in Puerto Limon and there is the Iwo Jima, big, gray and imposing. We are welcomed aboard and shown to our quarters and feed and treated as if we were Navy Seals who just accomplished some death-defying mission – if they only knew. Now back to our berthing area to put away our stuff and get some rest. But wait a minute; these bunks seem a little close together, how do you adjust them? They don’t adjust! Dead men get more space to rest in; maybe this is why the driver was trying to kill us.

After a night imitating Grandpa Munster sleeping in his coffin a clear sunny morning greeted us in Puerto Limon. While on a walking tour of the flight deck, secretly pretending to land a helicopter in my head (you would too if you were there) – we run across Coronel Negas the Commandant of Continuing Promise 2010. He welcomes us aboard the Iwo Jima and gives up a quick update on the previous leg of the mission. The rest of the day is spent getting lost in the passageways of the ship. In the evening there is a BBQ on the pier, a good way to end the day. Tomorrow the work starts and the Project HOPE volunteers are eager to get to work.

Photos and story by Kevin Makowski, Project HOPE Public Affairs Officer


  1. Good job Kevin, you got Zepplin in there. Next time it will be Yes? Roundabout probably would work in those hills too. I'm sure it's a lot like Panama.

  2. Thanks for bringing this story out for all to follow! We're with you in spirit, Kevin. How do I score the cool t-shirt?

  3. So cool to read what you are doing!