By Veronica Hotovy, FC 18 Costa Rica
When I applied to FrancisCorps, I had a pretty good idea as to what I wanted to be doing during my year in Costa Rica (or so I thought). I have always been particularly fond of the young adult population. FrancisCorps doesn’t work with that many young adult programs in Costa Rica, so kids were on the radar as well. And after four years of studying psychology, social work, and Spanish I was pumped to finally be doing something I’d spent so much time reading about.
I remember the first time my director (shout out to A.J.!) asked which sites I was most interested in. Rostro de María, Al Niño con Cariño, and even maayyyybe Manos Abiertas.
Little did I know.
During the discernment process of my placement site, I read a lot of Brady Kegley’s blog (a pretty wonderful FC volunteer from the Costa Rica group the year before me) of her experience at Hogar Santiago Crespo.
I’m going to be really honest. Santiago Crespo was one of the places that interested me the very LEAST when I applied. I’d never been particularly drawn to working with the elderly, and a nursing home just didn’t sound that appealing. Even less so knowing I would be working in physical therapy, which is kind of the opposite of everything I (thought) I wanted from my FC experience.
But it’s funny how God works sometimes. I started reading Brady’s blog, and I began thinking, “Oh, that sounds kind of fun..”
I was being torn between not wanting to give up the idea that I’d had of what I wanted, but also wanting to be open to whatever God wanted me to do and thinking that mayyyybe it was not going be what I had imagined.
The next time A.J. called to talk more concretely about placement sites a month or two later, I was very uncertain of where I would end up working. The conversation started off with ‘there’s only two volunteers in your community, so there’s a lot of flexibility in choosing your placement site.’ Basically, being a little community meant I had (more or less) the ability to choose the location I wanted. But then the conversation continued with ‘I know you said you were really interested in this, BUT what about Santiago Crespo?’
A.J. pitched his reasoning for suggesting Santiago Crespo well but the decision was ultimately mine to make. I listened and then took a couple of days to think and pray, but as soon as A.J. mentioned Santiago Crespo, I had this feeling that I was not going to be working with kids or psychology or anything I had been imagining for the last few months.
I’ve now been at Santiago Crespo for 8 months, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m thankful for my amazing coworkers and all of the wonderful therapy students I’ve had the opportunity to work with. I’ve had the chance to learn something entirely new and gain some pretty useful PT skills. The señores are the biggest blessing. Nothing fills me with joy the way they do. I get to dance and play pool with them all the time (even though these 80+ year-olds are much better dancers than I will ever be).
It was definitely not what I expected, and certainly not what I thought I wanted, but I wouldn’t trade my job at Hogar for anything. God’s plan was much better than mine.