Help Two Costa Rican Families Relocate Their Home

53422800_1608433113975687_r.jpegThis is that time of year when gift giving is of the order. For those of us who live in comfortable circumstances this is often experienced as a social obligation or an excess.  But when the exchange happens between those who have and those who haven’t, then it brings new meaning and purpose to the occasion. Both the receivers and the donors are rewarded with the joy that is truly in the spirit of the season.

My name is Daryl Vansier and I am a Canadian living in Costa Rica.  This is an appeal for you to help me relocate two local families of meagre means near my home in Nosara, Costa Rica who were among those living in the flood plains of Nosara and lost everything when their homes were devastated by swelling of the Nosara River resulting from the storms upstream when Hurricane Eta swept through Central America in early November.  If you can afford to help me with this project, we shall bring welcome relief and opportunity for two families to rebuild their lives and a woman who needs immediate medical help.  Please note that donations are posted in Canadian currency due to the receiving account being in Canada.
For several families living in the floodplains of Nosara being flooded and losing everything they own and sometimes their homes as well is an annual event. After a few years of witnessing this I was impressed by their positive and constructive attitude in starting all over again and the cooperative spirit of neighbours pitching in to help out.  This is one of the qualities of the Tico culture that attracted me to this place. However I was also wondering why these hardworking people are not taking measures to prevent that from happening again, so I did some investigation.  My gardener’s place was the obvious place to start after hurricane ETA a few months ago because it was painful for me to see this usually cheerful exemplary worker and human being showing up to work everyday after sleepless nights in his flooded home with no cooking facilities, no fridge, no toilet (septic system destroyed), no beds, no power, etc. Though I pay him well by local standards, he did not have the means to just go out and replace everything for the small house he occupies with his wife and son and the house next door where his daughter, husband and two young children live.  Of course, we had to take care of first things first, so I got him some foam mattresses and cooked some meals for them and started a small fund-raising effort on Facebook which a few generous people responded to, so Pastor’s family soon had a gas stove as well and a few hundred dollars for other essentials. My neighbours also pitched in with a few donations. However, the fundamental problem of where he lives needed to be addressed. Pastor had built a wall around the front of his house, about a foot high one year, then after that didn’t work, another foot or so higher, but this year the water was up to his chest. As for the idea of building the homes on posts or pillars, that is apparently not a good idea here as this is an earthquake zone, and digging a series of trenches or aqueducts for drainage is also not feasible as the flood waters are not always predictable in terms of where the river overflows. The situation this year was not caused so much by local rain swelling the Nosara river but by heavy rains inland and deforestation of the lands around the river that caused the river to meander and overflow in different areas.  It soon became obvious that the only real solution is to move the homes to flood-safe land. We eventually found a lovely 378 square metre property in Arenales for a very reasonable price. The owner had gifted the property to a young Tico woman who had a tumour operation on one side of her head and now needs 5,000,000 colones ( approximately $8,200.USD or CA$10,535.) to get one removed from the other side (and cover her expenses getting this done in San Jose) !  He is selling the property for 11,000,000 colones (about $18,000.or CA$23,000.) and will accept the monthly payments Pastor and his family can pay to buy the property, as long as we come up with $8,000.USD (CA$10,278. ) downpayment to help the lady get the medical attention she needs.  The good news is that she found out the other day that the tumour is benign but it is in the centre close to her spine and so she needs to get radiation treatment etc. as soon as possible to prevent more serious problems. We gave the owner $200.USD as a security deposit for the purchase which he used for her appointment with a private doctor as CAJA couldn’t help her.  So now we are hoping to raise the funds for the downpayment as soon as possible, January 15th at the latest.

As soon as we have secured the purchase with the downpayment, we can begin building the two small “Mouse” houses which will be on the property. These are simple prefab concrete houses complete with two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, living area, and metal roof with gutters that cost only $18,000. USD (CA$23,000. ) each and can be erected in a month !  The one shown in the pictures above was gifted to a family in need last year thanks to the generosity and energy of the Ellen Suetholz and Michael Bradley family and Ralf McDonald a local entrepreneur, and those that pitched in . 

So here is our time line and budget:  

Please note that I have included the both the USD currency amount and the Canadian currency amount as the amounts you see donated are shown in Canadian currency . This was required by GoFundMe since they are depositing the funds into my Canadian account. 

By January 15th:  $8,400 USD* (CA$10,792.) for the downpayment . The two families have the                                                                                                   means to pay the balance of the private mortgage to the owner over 3 years
By April 15th :    $37,800 USD* (CA$48,567.)  to build the two prefab "Mouse" houses

By May 15th:         $9,450 USD* (CA$12,141.)  for basic furnishings, appliances, septic system

Total approximately $56,000 USD* (CA$72,000)

* Includes Fees deducted by GoFundMe

I know that there are many others out there that need help, but waiting for a grand solution from the government or whoever to help everybody at once is not going to get us anywhere in the near future, if at all. What we can do is each do our part to start helping a few families become independent and set an example for many to follow .


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Daryl Vansier 
Montréal, QC
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